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)

Manchester United: Solskjaer hopeful of new Paul Pogba contract

Paul Pogba contract
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is singing a new tune, hopeful that star midfielder Paul Pogba will stick around Old Trafford for the long term.

Reports say that United has an option to extend Pogba’s contract by an extra year beyond its 2021 expiry, but Solskjaer is thinking bigger. He has been praising Pogba plenty since the World Cup winner returned to the lineup.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

It’s a bit surprising given Pogba and his super agent’s constant time in the rumor mill, with Real Madrid often linked with the Frenchman. And that agent, Mino Raiola, has not been so nice when it comes to judging Solskjaer.

But Solskjaer is reportedly hopeful that Pogba can join Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford, and others in building a new power.

“I can’t comment on discussions between player and the club but. of course, we want to keep the best players around the club,” Solskjaer said. “We want to build a squad for the future and Scott and Nemanja are a similar position but at different stages in their careers. One at the start, one really experienced one.”

Pogba leads United in key passes per game with 2.3, though his minutes have been severely limited by injuries this season. He had 13 goals and nine assists last season, and turned 27 in March.

The way United’s performed in recent weeks it would not be a surprise if keeping its main talents while adding another stalwart center back and wing would propel it into a more serious table discussion.

Do you buy the idea that Pogba could be with United well into the future?

Suarez goal gives Barcelona win, relegates neighbors Espanyol

Espanyol relegated
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Seventh-place one season ago, La Liga mainstays Espanyol are being relegated from Spain’s top flight.

The final decision came at the hands of their Catalan neighbors Barcelona, who got a second-half goal from Luis Suarez to relegate Espanyol.

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Espanyol are 11 points back of 17th place and can only capture nine more points this season following the 1-0 loss in a match where both teams had a player sent off.

Suarez’s goal was a nice one after Antoine Griezmann’s back heel pass to Lionel Messi saw the Argentine’s shot deflect onto the path of the Uruguayan finisher.

Espanyol had been in the top flight since 1994 and has only spent four single seasons outside La Liga since 1929. Leganes and Mallorca may join them soon.

Barcelona moves a point back of Real Madrid. Real has four matches left to Barca’s three and holds the tiebreaker.

Klopp reacts to Liverpool wins, says Henderson injury ‘not nothing’

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Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion was a bit more what we’re used to from the Premier League champions.

But that wasn’t the focus of the post-match despite a highlight-reel show from Mohamed Salah, as Reds boss Jurgen Klopp sounded an ominous note when asked about Jordan Henderson leaving the match with injury.

“I don’t know exactly but it was something with the knee I think. We know it’s not nothing.”

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Henderson’s not exactly a player to hit the deck unless he’s feeling pain, and Klopp removed him for James Milner with 10 minutes to play.

That’s about the only bad news from the win, as Liverpool became the first team this season to breach the 90-point mark and saw Salah’s brace move him within three goals of the Golden Boot lead.

Salah would only say, “Let’s take it game-by-game,” but it’s clearly on his mind.

Trent Alexander-Arnold says the Egyptian is hungry to get a share of a third-straight Golden Boot.

From the BBC:

“He has his targets, he’s around the Golden Boot and it’s something he wants to retain,” Alexander-Arnold said. “He’s a world class player who scores so many goals for us and we try to get him on the board as much as possible.”

As for the match, Brighton almost as missed some big chances as Liverpool before the game was out of reach. Klopp admits that it was a challenge.

“We started really well,” Klopp said. “We had to adapt a little bit as we knew what they wanted to do but it was a little bit hard to defend. We left one or two players in a position where if we won the ball we had players in the counter-attack position. We got the first two goals with super balls but we could have scored more. I said to the boys at half-time they could have been 2-2 too. It was a nice game to watch.”

The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.

Liverpool march continues with 3-1 win at Brighton

Brighton - Liverpool recap
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Mohamed Salah had two goals and an assist in the first eight minutes of Liverpool’s 3-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on Wednesday.

Salah is now three goals behind league leader Jamie Vardy, and Liverpool’s 92 points are 23 more than Man City. Jordan Henderson also scored for the Reds.

BRIGHTON – LIVERPOOL FULL MATCH REPLAY

Leandro Trossard scored for Brighton, whose 36 points are nine clear of the bottom three with four matches to play (The 18th and 19th place sides do have a match each in hand).

[ MORE: Premier League summer schedule ]

Liverpool’s 30 wins through 34 outings is a Premier League record and Jurgen Klopp’s men are chasing several PL records. The Reds finish with Burnley, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Newcastle United.


Three things we learned

1. Salah somehow under the radar: Look, the Egyptian star’s 32-goal league season was an outlier. Not a lot of guys consistently hit 25, let alone the 30 mark in the Premier League. But Salah has rather quietly put together another amazing season with 19 goals and nine assists in PL play plus another four and three in cup competitions. Salah is one assist of joining the a small group of players to get double digit league goals and assists in a top five European league this season.

While it’s become sexy to praise Sadio Mane as the Reds’ top winger, Salah has been just as good. He could’ve had another goal in the 53rd but Mat Ryan made a fine intervention at close range. If Salah is under the radar, it’s because Liverpool has spread the wealth this season and had so many heroes in close matches. But boy, oh boy, is he their best weapon.

2. Lamptey shows glimpses, then youth: The sample size is very small, but 19-year-old Chelsea outcast Tariq Lamptey has played well at right back in most of his outings for Brighton since the return from the coronavirus pause. Lamptey was at blame for Liverpool’s third goal in both the chance conceded and actual finish from Salah, but the $4 million January buy looked well worth the price tag in a terrific first half at the Amex.

3. Seagulls still missing final ball: Brighton produced four big chances in the game to Liverpool’s two, but only put one in the back of the net (SofaScore). That’s sadly been par for the course this season, as Brighton’s style has been worthy of a top half place. Brighton entered the day with seven fewer goals than its expected goals total. Only Everton, Watford, and Norwich have been less fortunate.

Man of the Match:

Salah.


Brighton – Liverpool recap

Salah had a goal and an assist within 500 seconds of kickoff.

The Egyptian took a feed from Naby Keita to score off a Davy Propper giveaway and then set up Henderson’s second to have the Seagulls’ heads spinning early.

Brighton found a chance in the 19th but Neco Williams recovered with a slide to block Leandro Trossard from slotting a point-blank goal.

The Seagulls pulled within one just before halftime when in-form youngster Tariq Lamptey swept a cross into the mix for Trossard to punch home.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Salah could’ve had it 3-1 at one end but Brighton’s Dan Burn asked the Egyptian to hold his drink with a butchered wide-open shot at the back post in the 60th minute.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t like the close score, and brought on Fabinho, Andy Robertson, and Sadio Mane in the second half. One of the players he removed, Naby Keita, had a strong hour before departing the contest.

Henderson almost produced a third Liverpool goal after a rare Lamptey error spring a chance that took a wicked turn off Dale Stephens.

The Reds made it 3-1 off the ensuing corner, Salah’s clinical header in front of Lamptey. Henderson limped off for Liverpool late in the contest.

Ryan denied Salah a hat trick in stoppage time and the Egyptian headed over the bar at the final whistle. He could’ve had five.