Manchester United thwarted Liverpool for the second spot in the premier league at Old Trafford earlier today. The red devils put up a stellar performance against their arch rivals Liverpool in a thrilling contest. Jose Mourinho made three major changes in his line up, and tactically it proved to be another victory for the ‘special one’. Eric Bailly returned to the starting line up, without much match practice. Marouane Fellaini also made his first appearance since January, after coming off the bench.
However, the spotlight was stolen by Marcus Rashford who netted in twice in the first half to put his team in the front. While Liverpool dominated possession, they couldnt make anything off it. United’s back four Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young, were solid at the back as they have been all season.
It was a highly anticipated match-up with history beckoning, as they met for the 200th time in the premier league. It was a spectacular atmosphere at the Old Trafford and the fans were deafening. Chris Smalling later on spoke about how important the match was for the fans.“I think there’s always that rivalry, but even more this year,” Smalling told MUTV. “We’re a lot closer in the table than we’ve probably been for a while. The fact that we’re so close gives it an added intensity.”
Smalling urged the fans to support them before the match, “They can definitely be the difference – you saw that against Chelsea. I think in certain moments in this game, we’re going to need those fans to push us like never before. I think everybody is on the same wavelength about how big a win is.It’s a long time until you play them again, so you need to get those bragging rights.” And the fans delivered today, as the deafening noise in the stadium drowned out Eric Bailly’s own goal.
It was definitely a tactical victory for Jose, with the addition of Rashford, Mata and the introduction of Fellaini later on as well, into the team. United return to champions league action as they gear up to face Sevilla.