Manchester United is going to finish well above Liverpool on points this Premier League season, but Thursday’s match between the heated rivals at Old Trafford looked more like last season.
The reigning Premier League champions overcame an early Bruno Fernandes goal to swarm through, past, around — pick your preposition already! — the host Red Devils to keep their top-four hopes alive in a 4- 2 win.
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United remains 10 points ahead of fifth-place Liverpool, who is now four points back of Chelsea and six behind Leicester City. The Reds have played one fewer game than all three teams.
Manchester United player ratings
Dean Henderson: 5 — Four saves and a solid tackle but not confident with the ball on several occasions.
Luke Shaw: 6 — Not spectacular, but certainly not in the top three to blame for the loss.
Victor Lindelof: 5 — Sloppy
Eric Bailly: 4 — Still looking rusty 2.2 matches into Harry Maguire’s absence.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka: 7 — One assist and could’ve had more as one of United’s top dogs on the day.
Fred: 6 — Pretty subpar day for the Brazilian.
Scott McTominay: 5 — Passing was off and he totally lost Roberto Firmino a couple of times, too slow to intervene in the build-up to each of Liverpool’s goals but stayed committed in tackles while winning 10-of-13 duels to save him from a deplorable mark.
Paul Pogba: 6 — Showed his range of passing while not shying away from confrontations, making four tackles and two interceptions, but lost Firmino for the second Liverpool goal.
Bruno Fernandes: 7— Yes, he was trying that but it’s ironic that his goal got a wicked deflection to cross the line considering it was the only one of his six shot attempts to neither miss the mark nor get blocked.
Marcus Rashford: 7 — A good goal and two key passes but only 41 touches as Liverpool kept him from killing them.
Edinson Cavani: 6 — Buzzed around early but lost his energy late in his 90 minutes.
Mason Greenwood (70′ on for Torres): 6 — 23 touches and three attempts in 27 minutes
Nemanja Matic (86′ on for Bailly): N/A
Liverpool player ratings
Alisson Becker: 5 — Zero saves and multiple big errors while connecting on just 2-of-13 long balls/clearances.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 8 — When he’s on, he’s on. And he was decent in his own end, not a strength, while racking up five key passes.
Nathaniel Phillips: 9 — He wasn’t going to do anything on the Bruno goal, and everything else he did was phenomenal.
Rhys Williams: 7 — Far from bad, he was rarely called upon as Phillips commanded the back. Solid.
Andrew Robertson: 5 — Lost a fair amount of 1v1 scraps and sent in 13 balls, only reaching the target twice.
Thiago Alcantara: 6 — Fine in defense but not the meticulous, ultra-precise part of possession and attack we expected.
Fabinho: 7 — Not an exceptional day but his usual fiery and active self, if a step slow on occasion.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7 — The action rarely found him but he didn’t put a foot wrong.
Mohamed Salah: 7 — Not sensational, but tidy and efficient plus got his goal.
Roberto Firmino: 9 — Vintage Firmino, with two key passes to go with his two goals while doing more than expected of a center forward in his own third.
Diogo Jota: 7 — A nice flicked goal but he’ll have wanted to finish more than one given the spaces he found in the attacking third.
Curtis Jones (74′ on for Wijnaldum): 8 — Probably the brightest of any Liverpool midfielder to hit the pitch.
Sadio Mane (74′ on for Mane): 6 — Disappointing (and clearly disappointed not to start)
Neco Williams (90′ on for Salah): N/A