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Player Ratings from Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United

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Liverpool might’ve needed a stoppage time goal to put Manchester United away, but the Reds outclassed their rivals on Sunday at Anfield.

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It was a righteous beatdown of the visitors, who were without Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford but looked more like a relegated-threatened side than one of the most successful clubs in football history.

[ MORE: JPW’s Three Things ]


Liverpool

Alisson — 9 — One of the world’s best gets an extra point for assisting Mohamed Salah‘s insurance goal.

Andy Robertson — 7 — Typical strength from the hard-working Scot.

Joe Gomez — 7

Virgil Van Dijk — 8 — Scored the decisive goal and was almost imperious at the back.

Trent Alexander-Arnold — 7

Georginio Wijnaldum — 7

Jordan Henderson — 8 — One of his best days in the shirt, winning numerous tackles and deprived of a delightful goal by De Gea.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Out 66′) — 7

Sadio Mane (Out 83′) — 5 — If he’s anywhere near his average self, he has a first half hat trick.

Mohamed Salah — 7 — Tied for a match-high shots with Mane, but had more of an edge and found a deserved goal late.

Roberto Firmino (Out 83′) — 7 — A game-high six dribbles to go with plenty of industry.

Subs 

Adam Lallana (66′) — 7

Divock Origi (83′) — N/A

Fabinho (83′) — N/A


Manchester United

David De Gea — 7 — An incredible save on Jordan Henderson on a day he had so little help.

Luke Shaw (Off 87′) — 5

Harry Maguire — 4 — Tried to do too much in his first match as full-time United captain.

Victor Lindelof — 4

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 6 — One of few standouts on the day, with loads of energy and few ready to meet his level.

Brandon Williams (Out 75′) — 6

Nemanja Matic — 6

Fred — 7 — One of the few United players to bring effort and sharpness, but his shooting was off. Only Van Dijk attempted more passes.

Andreas Pereira (Out 75′) — 3 — Don’t let his ability to produce an edge of your seat moment detract from 16-of-26 passing and dreadful inconsistency.

Daniel James — 5

Anthony Martial — 4 — Blazed a perfect chance to tie the match over the bar, and effort wasn’t there.

Subs 

Juan Mata (In 75′) — N/A

Mason Greenwood (In 75′) — N/A

Diogo Dalot (In 87′) — N/A

Watch Live: Liverpool v. Manchester United

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Marcus Rashford is not in the lineup as Manchester United attempts to secure a stunning result versus unbeaten rivals Liverpool.

Anfield is the scene for Sunday’s 11:30 a.m. ET kickoff (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is predictably going safe with his lineup, five traditional backs lining up with Fred and Nemanja Matic in midfield.

Anthony Martial, Daniel James, and Andreas Pereira will have to produce offense against a Liverpool team missing Fabinho and Naby Keita but loaded up with attackers.

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Pepe, Arsenal impress in dispatching haggard Man Utd

Pepe drives Arteta to first Arsenal win
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Arsenal gave Mikel Arteta his first win and it came against an age-old rival.

The Gunners controlled Manchester United 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday, riding an eye-opening show from Nicolas Pepe in the process.

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Pepe and Sokratis Papastathopoulos scored the goals as Arsenal moves 10th on 27 points. The Gunners are nine points back of the Top Four.

United whiffs in a bid to move within a win of fourth-place Chelsea, and remains fifth with 31 points.


Three things we learned

1. Arteta overwhelms injury-hit United midfield: The Red Devils midfield isn’t a league-winner at full strength, and not having Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay is a problem. The depth behind them is just not there, or too green. Nemanja Matic and Fred were easy starters, but Jesse Lingard‘s rough time continues and Andreas Pereira has been inconsistent.

Mikel Arteta knew this and was able to start Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, and Nicolas Pepe. It was less of a risk than usual because of the opposition. It became even less so given another fine showing from Granit Xhaka.

United should go shopping even if Pogba plans on staying, given Matic’s age. Both Matic and Fred were decent in a poor effort for United. Maybe Juan Mata was the play, as his cameo was okay.

2. Pepe embraces rare start, demanding more: Nicolas Pepe has been much more effective for Arsenal as a Premier League starter than a sub, and his first league start since Dec. 15 was right on the money. His first half: Goal, 25-of-25 passes, hit post, whipped-in corner that became 2nd goal, three dribbles, two aerials won, one tackle. 2-0 Arsenal. He was still subbed off in the 62nd minute, so, okay. He must be the worst training player on Earth, or hide everyone’s car keys.

To borrow Pep Guardiola‘s favorite phrase modifier, he was so, so good. And there’s room for more, as he’s a shade off when it comes to following his instincts in the final third. That’s something Mikel Arteta will have seen fine-tuned with Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus at Manchester City.

3. Rashford runs out of steam: If we’re going to relentlessly praise Marcus Rashford‘s arrival, and deservedly so, we need to note when United’s key piece doesn’t quite have it. It’s understandable given the minutes and magnitude of contribution asked, but he won just one of nine first half duels. He didn’t get a shot on target during the frame and passed at less than 70 percent.

Man of the Match: Pepe only played the first hour, so we’ll give a nod to beleaguered goal scorer Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The ex-Borussia Dortmund man was the standout performer of a back four which seems to have a simplified plan under Arteta.


A bad Ainsley Maitland-Niles giveaway threatened to open up Arsenal, but Jesse Lingard didn’t handle the opportunity well.

Pepe put Arsenal ahead when Sead Kolasinac‘s cutback was deflected into his path. A clever adjustment later and the ball was in the back of the goal.

Aubameyang couldn’t side volley a Pepe cross home moments later.

The Gunners were all over the Red Devils, and Pepe slipped Lacazette into the box for the Frenchman to torch Harry Maguire but fire wide.

Pepe then curled an 18-yard shot off the far post.

The Gunners got a deserved second in the 43rd as De Gea saved Lacazette’s flick of Pepe’s corner, but Sokratis was at the ready to punch in the rebound.

Harry Maguire headed a free kick to Bernd Leno on the final play of the first half.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

United’s second half was improved at the outset, with Fred stinging Leno’s palms with a shot in the 55th but still no real threat on goal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer removed Daniel James and Jesse Lingard for Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira in the 58th minute.

Matic set up Pereira for a shot in the 59th, but the Brazilian smashed into the outside of the goal.

Leno beat Rashford to Juan Mata’s cross in stoppage time to keep the clean sheet.

Manchester United beats Burnley to go fifth

Manchester United beats Burnley to go fifth
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Manchester United seized a chance to go fifth with a 2-0 defeat of Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The Red Devils sit one point back of fourth place Chelsea, who plays Arsenal on Sunday.

Burnley’s 24 points are six clear of the drop zone after 20 matches.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule


Three things we learned

1. Wasteful Red Devils survive nonetheless: Anthony Martial should’ve had a hat trick, but will be one of the few Manchester United attackers able to live with his day considering he provided a goal. With 63 percent of the ball, United had plenty of time to produce chances but often made baffling choices in the final third.

United were without Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay, and perhaps a bit fortunate to be playing a Burnley side who’s scored thrice in its last seven league matches.

2. Teen left back Williams impresses: Brandon Williams played left back in his first league start since Dec. 1, and was very lively going forward. He passed at 87 percent on the day. He has a goal and an assist in just under 800 first team minutes this season.

3. Rashford gets his goal (again): Rashford scrapped his way to a stoppage time marker and now has 16 goals and six assists in 26 matches after sliding the insurance tally over the line. He’s been held off the score sheet just four times in his last 11 league outings. It wasn’t an incredible night for Marcus Rashford, merely solid, but boy has it been a solid four months.

Man of the Match: Daniel James — It was a day without a ton of starring performances, but the ex-Swansea City man was rampant up and down the wing and assisted Rashford’s late insurance goal.


James Tarkowski knocked down a free kick that David De Gea rescued from a goal to spring a counter.

United worked down the left with Martial, the ball finding its way to Rashford for a shot that curled just wide of the frame.

Martial then saw a ball cleared off the line by Phil Bardsley after a Daniel James shot deflected onto his path.

United took the lead in the 44th through Martial. Andreas Pereira picked the pocket of Burnley left back Taylor, drawing a pass behind the Clarets back line for Martial to poke past Pope.

[ MORE: Premier League stats ] 

Martial had the ball in the net again but saw his 51st minute marker whistled for a foul. Pope saved a Martial shot three minutes later.

Burnley had a couple of chances and grew into the game. Unlikely striker Phil Bardsley tore into a low effort that required a superb save from David De Gea.

Martial and Lingard combined to throw away an 83rd minute chance to make it 2-0. James and Rashford teamed up for a stoppage time goal after United held firm against a late Burnley set piece surge.

Watch Live: Manchester United v. Newcastle United

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Paul Pogba starts Boxing Day on the bench, not quite ready for a full return as Manchester United hosts Newcastle at Old Trafford (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

Daniel James and Mason Greenwood join Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford in a potent attack for the home side.

[ STREAM: Man Utd v. Newcastle ]

Geordie hero Andy Carroll gets a rest for the Magpies, who will start two hometown boys in the Longstaff brothers.

Both Uniteds enter the day on 25 points, though the Red Devils own a 10-goal advantage in goal difference.

Newcastle got the better of Man Utd earlier this year on a Matty Longstaff debut rip late in the match at St. James’ Park.

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