Player ratings from Manchester United’s win vs. Liverpool

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Manchester United beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield on Sunday with Louis Van Gaal prevailing for the fourth time in a row against United’s bitter rivals.

It was a tense game on Merseyside with Jurgen Klopp‘s side dominating the opening 60 minutes but failing to find a way past the brilliant David De Gea.

[ MORE: 3 things we learned | Recap ]

Wayne Rooney‘s record-breaking goal (his 176th for United in the PL, more than any other player for a single club in league history) delivered a crucial three points for United as they keep up their hopes of finishing in the top four, plus hurt Liverpool’s chances of challenging for UEFA Champions League qualification in the process.

Below is a mark out of 10 for each player who took the field on Sunday, plus a brief review of how they fared.


Liverpool

Simon Mignolet – 6 – Couldn’t do anything on the goal. Few bad clearances but was hardly troubled.

Nathaniel Clyne – 5 – Failed to get forward and seems to be tailing off in second half of the season.

Kolo Toure – 6 – Typically committed and made some important tackles in the second half.

Mamadou Sakho – 6 – See above. Could have been more dominant in aerial challenge that led to Rooney’s goal.

Alberto Moreno – 5 – Like Clyne, failed to get forward as much. Wasn’t tested defensively.

Lucas Leiva – 7 – Snapped into challenges and thread through some lovely balls. Good display.

Emre Can – 7 – Another who forced the issue and forced De Gea into a fine stop.

Jordan Henderson – 6 – Tried too hard at times but was often involved in clever play on edge of the box.

James Milner – 6 – Plenty of hard running, as always, but skied a shot in the first half.

Adam Lallana – 5 – Should have scored early and despite clever link-up play that key pass, shot always seems to evade him.

Roberto Firmino – 7 – Went close in the first and second half, always a threat and United didn’t know how to handle him.

Subs: Jordon Ibe (5- Little time to make an impact), Christian Benteke (4- Should have come on sooner), Caulker (N/A)


Manchester United

David de Gea – 9 (Man of the Match) – Made a good stop from Lallana in the first half and denied Can twice in the second. Superb display. Worth his weight in gold.

Ashley Young – 5 – Injured after 42 minutes. Was struggling to contain Liverpool’s attacks and failed to really get forward.

Chris Smalling – 6 – Did okay. Stood his ground and handled Benteke late on.

Daley Blind – 6 – Few good interceptions and always looking to play out of the back.

Matteo Darmian – 6 – Switched from left to right back when Young went off. Steady Eddie.

Jesse Lingard – 5 – Really didn’t get involved in the game at all. Subbed out in 66th minute for Mata.

Morgan Schneiderlin – 6 – Looked lost in first half. Got on the ball in second to help United grab a foothold.

Ander Herrera – 5 – Same as Schneiderlin. Subbed out in 72nd minute for Memphis.

Marouane Fellaini – 6 – Flicked header came off the bar and fell to Rooney for the goal. Lucky to get away with early stamp. Booked.

Anthony Martial – 6 – Flashed a shot just wide in the second half and caused problems with incisive running into the box.

Wayne Rooney – 7 – When United needed him most he delivered with a cool finish. The talisman is in red-hot form (5 goals in 4 games) despite being isolated for most of this game.

Subs: Cameron Borthwick-Jones (6 – Youngster slotted in and even surged forward late on), Juan Mata (6 – Great cross which led to the goal), Memphis (5 – Little time to have an impact but looked sharp)

Newcastle takes three points at Sheffield United

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Allan Saint-Maximin and Jonjo Shelvey scored goals and VAR made its presence felt as Newcastle United toppled Sheffield United 2-0 at Bramall Lane on Thursday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Its Newcastle’s fifth result from six following a loss to Chelsea, while Sheffield United sees the end of its seven-match unbeaten run.

The Magpies pull into 11th place with 19 points, two spots below the Blades on goal differential.

Sheffield United meets Norwich City on Sunday, when Newcastle hosts Southampton.


Three things we learned

1. Blades make rookie mistake in VAR era: The linesman’s flag was raised when Andy Carroll flicked a header into the Blades final third, but Shelvey kept running onto the ball and referee Stuart Atwell allowed play to continue into the 1v1 chance between the midfielder and Sheffield United goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Shelvey passed around Henderson and into the goal, the backstop apparently spotting the flag and assuming the call. Big mistake, as VAR negated the linesman’s flag.

2. Bruce rewarded for lineup risk, and ASM breaks down the door: Manager Steve Bruce pulled the plug on big money striker Joelinton‘s automatic spot in the Starting XI, installing veteran center forward and hometown hero Andy Carroll in that spot. Carroll was solid with Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron on his flanks, and won the pivotal assist in the second half.

Saint-Maximin is either the league’s best dribbler or a fixture in the debate, but he’s been unable to find the back of the goal whether through fine saves or misfired shots. Raise your hand if you had 50-50 header for his first Premier League marker. Didn’t think so. If this busts down the door, look out.

3. Magnificent Martin deserves a rest: Newcastle backstop Martin Dubravka was the biggest factor in the result, as the Slovakian national team goalkeeper was at his shot-stopping best. He was stopping all of the Olivers, with fine stops on McBurnie and Norwood in the first half and a well-controlled box in the second 45.

Man of the Match: Dubravka — Respect to Carroll, but the keeper made six saves on the night for a richly-deserved clean sheet.


[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

A deflection off Miguel Almiron forced Martin Dubravka into a fine reaction stop in the sixth minute.

Newcastle then had the ball for a spell without real threat, as Blades’ Oli McBurnie’s curl wide in the 15th minute was the next moment of danger for either side.

The Magpies scored soon after, Saint-Maximin rising high to thump a header inside the post after Andy Carroll laid off for Javi Manquillo‘s cross.

McBurnie then forced an incredible save out of Dubravka when George Baldock sent a terrific cross into the heart of the box.

Almiron gave away a dangerous free kick in first half stoppage time, but Dubravka was again there for a two-handed parry of Oliver Norwood‘s rip.

VAR made its voice heard in the 71st minute, when it ruled that

Everton must think bigger than retread replacement for Silva

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Marco Silva is out as Everton manager, the Toffees turning the page on a disappointing execution of their ambitious vision.

Despite plenty of investment, Silva’s Everton wasn’t able to do much of anything good and now sits in the Premier League’s Bottom Three after 15 match days.

[ MORE: Everton sacks Silva ]

Silva’s men finished eighth in the league during his first season, but the best he can say about his truncated sophomore campaign is that the club are into the League Cup quarterfinals.

So what will Everton do now? Well, Duncan Ferguson is in charge for the Toffees’ Saturday visit from Chelsea, though the club has vowed to “swiftly” find their next full-time boss.

Frankly, the club could do its next man a favor by taking its time, as the post-Chelsea fixtures are Manchester United, Leicester City in the aforementioned cup fixture, and Arsenal.

Back on topic, what the Toffees should do is appoint a man with vision. While it would be tempting to slide into the comfortable slippers that are David Moyes, appointing him or some Sam Allardyce or Mark Hughes type would be another step in the wrong direction.

That’s because this is truly an opportunity for the right coach to take the club in a tremendous direction. Everton might be in the drop zone, but its talent is a mile ahead of true relegation candidacy.

Whoever is hired — and this is why Big Sam is probably holding aloft a boombox outside Goodison Park — is going to “save the Toffees” and earn another season at the helm. Allowing that to be some retread would be a mistake.

Rafa Benitez isn’t going to come to Goodison Park because of his relationship with Liverpool, but a a manager of his ilk should very much be in play. The Toffees boast a still-improving star forward in Richarlison and two proper fullbacks in Lucas Digne and Djibril Sidibe.

Richarlison is 22, Alex Iwobi is 23, and Moise Kean just 19 and adapting to a new country. Defenders Yerry Mina, Mason Holgate, and Michael Keane are all under 26. A manager who can develop and fine tune talent will have a field day with this roster. Imagine Dominic Calvert-Lewin reaching his potential.

Their 9.1 shots allowed per game is a figure bettered by only Man City and Chelsea. The side has been prone to allowing those shots to be dangerous ones, but there’s every reason to believe that fixing their fourth-worst goals conceded total should happen soon given some adequate goalkeeping performances.

Jordan Pickford is England’s No. 1, but hasn’t been right for the Toffees. Logically, he’ll get back to at least average and start stealing some points. The goals are going to keep coming, and likely increase with the wins; Everton is eighth in the xG table.

The Premier League is better when Everton is a good side. The Toffees are not going to be relegated this season, and need to approach that hiring with that mindset. Get someone worth believing in, not just blind hope and a nod to the past.

Watch Live: Arsenal v. Brighton, Sheffield Utd v. Newcastle

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Matchweek 15 of the 2019-20 Premier League season wraps up on Thursday, with two more midweek clashes featuring two mid-table sides, and two more from much nearer to the relegation zone, in action.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live here ] 

First up, PL new boys (and 9th-place side) Sheffield United will host 14th-place Newcastle United, who sit just two points outside the relegation zone ahead of kickoff. 45 minutes later, 10th-place Arsenal will host 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion in Freddie Ljungberg’s first home game as Arsenal interim manager.

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The schedule for Thursday’s two games is below and you can stream each game live by clicking on the links.


2:30 p.m. ET: Sheffield United v. Newcastle United [STREAM]
3:15 p.m. ET: Arsenal v. Brighton & Hove Albion [STREAM]

Marco Silva fired by Everton

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Marco Silva has been fired as manager of Everton, making him the fourth Premier League manager to lose his job in the last 16 days.

[ MORE: Lampard: Pulisic can reach “top level of world football” ]

Silva reported for a regular day’s work at Everton’s training ground on Thursday, a day after suffering a 5-2 defeat to local rivals Liverpool, all while a conference call was expected to take place involving the relevant figures: owner Farhad Moshiri, chairman Bill Kenright, chief executive Denise Barrett-Baxendale and director of football Marcel Brands.

15 games into the 2019-20 PL season, the Toffees currently sit 18th in the league table with less than a point per game — relegation territory — on the back of three straight losses and just four wins all season. Silva’s only victory since mid-October came against fellow bottom-four side Southampton nearly a month ago.

[ MORE: Ole gushes over “the best performance Rashford has had under me” ]

It’s not just the number of losses for Everton (now up to nine) on the season thus far, but many of the sides to which they’ve lost (newly promoted Aston Villa, 12th-place Bournemouth, newly promoted Sheffield United, 11th-place Burnley, 16th-place Brighton & Hove Albion and 19th-place Norwich, to name a few) that forced them further and further down the table and made relegation a semi-serious threat, at least for the time being.