Football News

Man Utd 2-2 Liverpool: Player ratings as M62 rivals produce another entertaining Old Trafford goal fest

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:30, 7 April 2024

Two weeks after their epic FA Cup quarter-final tie, Manchester United and Liverpool reconvened in the Premier League.

However, the sides in England’s top division couldn’t be any different. Erik ten Hag’s outfit may be looking forward to a Wembley semi-final clash with Coventry City, but they came into this afternoon’s showdown languishing in sixth place, with Champions League football next season becoming an unlikely prospect.

Even more damning is the fact United, a few days earlier, were leading against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge at 99:17, the latest a side has ever led in a Premier League match they’ve gone on to lose.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are firmly in this season’s title race. Manchester City and Arsenal swapped the lead on Saturday, with Jurgen Klopp’s team knowing nothing less than a win at their fierce rivals’ home would see them resume control. As the Red Devils were capitulating, Liverpool ran out 3-1 winners over Sheffield United, extending their unbeaten run to seven matches (six wins and one draw).

That being said, in these such games, form often goes out the window, though given United’s lacklustre defensive performance of late, many observers expected a resounding away win.

At one point, it seemed those pre-game predictions were bearing fruit, with Liverpool going ahead through Luis Diaz before continually peppering United’s goal. Twenty crazy second-half minutes saw the hosts turn the contest on its head, with Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo getting on the scoresheet.

However, they could not hold on as Mohamed Salah equalised from the spot, giving neutral spectators another thrilling Old Trafford contest between these heated rivals.

In the meantime, here’s how the players rated at Old Trafford:


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Man Utd

André Onana – 6 – Penny for his thoughts about Man Utd’s recent lack of solidity in front of him. Once again, the Cameroonian goalkeeper faced a barrage of preventable shots.

Diogo Dalot – 6.5 – Had another battle with Díaz down United’s right flank, which often meant he seldom entered the opposition’s final third, but he did produce several vital interventions.

Willy Kambwala – 5 – You must sympathise with Kambwala, who started his second Premier League game and felt exposed against the visiting dynamic attack.

Harry Maguire – 5.5 – The much-maligned English centre-back used every ounce of his experience, but that wasn’t enough.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka – 5 – Again started on United’s left flank, but unlike in the recent FA Cup encounter, he couldn’t dovetail with Rashford to cause Liverpool’s backline problems. He gave away a needless penalty in the last ten minutes which Salah converted. 

Kobbie Mainoo – 6.5 – Swamped in the middle third and often unaware of his surroundings, Mainoo unleashed a stunning curling effort to put United shockingly in front. He’s the first 18-year-old to score a Premier League goal against Liverpool since Cesc Fàbregas for Arsenal in May 2005.

Casemiro – 6 – If anyone was going to be the glue holding United’s midfield together, it was Casmeiro; either his best days are behind him, or Ten Hag’s tactics are doing him no favours. The former Real Madrid man was often isolated and subsequently unable to control proceedings, which United surrendered to Liverpool.

Marcus Rashford – 5.5 – He started promising, but last season’s most valuable player slowly faded, and his influence became nonexistent.

Bruno Fernandes – 6.5 – As is often the case whenever United looks second best and off their game, Fernandes shrinks. The midfielder effectively played on the periphery before Quansah presented him with a gift.

Alejandro Garnacho – 5 – He’s been in good scoring form of late, but Garnacho couldn’t add to his burgeoning total even though he saw plenty of the ball prior to exiting.

Rasmus Højlund – 5 – It’s fair to say he was a willing runner, but opportunities for the Danish marksman were few and far between.

Substitutes:

Antony (for Rashford 66) – 5 – Had the opportunity to win it late on but saw an effort tamely fall into Kelleher’s grasp.

Sofyan Amrabat (for Garnacho 79) – 4.5 – Brought on to help protect United’s lead, but the Moroccan wasn’t practically a bystander during his brief time on the pitch.

Mason Mount (for Mainoo 85) – N/A – A late sub.


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Liverpool

Caoimhín Kelleher – 6 – Continues to impress in Alisson’s absence, though would have been frustrated not to keep a clean sheet.

Andy Robertson – 6.5 – Back to his marauding best down the Reds’ left flank.

Virgil van Dijk – 7 – Breda’s colossal was again supreme for Liverpool when in control. William Saliba is his only competition as the Premier League’s best centre-back. In another frantic outing, the Dutchman was hardly at fault with either conceded goal. 

Jarell Quansah – 5.5 – It was another start for the youngster, who showed maturity beyond his years before an error under no pressure allowed United back into the game.

Conor Bradley – 5 – The first name in Anthony Taylor’s book after recklessly bringing Marcus Rashford down as United was breaking forward.

Dominik Szoboszlai – 6 – Didn’t need a second invitation to join Liverpool’s attack and was proactive in the box-to-box role he’s come to own, though Szoboszlai would be frustrated not to have found the net.

Wataru Endo – 6 – It’s always worth recalling what Jurgen Klopp told Endo during their first meeting at the Reds training ground. “We really need you,” said the German tactician. Based on today’s evidence, you can see why the Japanese international has effortlessly followed in Fabinho’s footsteps.

Alexis Mac Allister – 7 – Played between Liverpool’s midfielders and occasionally found himself in acres of space. The mercurial Argentine was at the centre of everything positive in Liverpool’s build-up play.

Luis Díaz – 7 – High-pressing, mobile, and energetic, this was another typical performance from the Colombian forward who put the Reds in front with a neat scissor kick from close range.

Darwin Núñez – 5.5 – No longer the subject of ridicule, Núñez is now fulfilling his potential as a credible scoring threat and a leader of the Reds’ frontline, even if that means providing for others, as he did in this game.

Mohamed Salah – 7 – This was a typical Salah outing. He was constantly involved in numerous efforts before getting his reward. He’s now scored six Premier League goals at Old Trafford, the most of any visiting player in the competition’s history.

Substitutes:

Curtis Jones (for Szoboszlai 66) – 6 – A second key outing from Liverpool’s bench this week, but unlike against Sheffield United, the Reds weren’t able to cross the line and pick up all three points. 

Joe Gomez (for Bradley 66) – 5.5 – His introduction was solving a problem United were causing down Liverpool’s right flank; it’s fair to say Gomez executed his manager’s instructions. 

Harvey Elliott (for Endo 68) – 6 – He made the difference when coming on. Elliott’s first thought was running at United’s backline, and he earned the spot-kick, which led to Salah’s point-salvaging goal.

Cody Gakpo (for Núñez 68) – 5 – Hardly saw a kick of the ball when replacing Núñez.

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