Football News

Man Utd fans hail Malacia the ‘new Evra’ after Liverpool triumph, as Neville praises his “guts and courage”

By Ben Green

Published: 22:18, 22 August 2022

Manchester United collected their first win of the Erik ten Hag era on Monday night, beating Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford in a frantically-paced contest.

The Red Devils came charging off the blocks with the bit between their teeth, playing with a high-octane energy that has been so synonymous with Jurgen Klopp’s own counterpressing brand over the years — but without several of his key men, the travelling Reds struggled to get into their stride.

The hosts duly capitalised, breaching the Liverpool backline with liquid ease and (forgive the cliche) like a hot knife through butter, with Jadon Sancho eventually breaking the deadlock 16 minutes into the contest after collecting the ball in the middle of the box, wrong footing Alisson, and calmly tucking home.

Ten Hag’s men continued to press and probe, looking to expose the soft underbelly of Klopp’s typically-formidable rearguard, and they found another opening just after the restart, with Marcus Rashford beating the offside trap to race through on goal and end his protracted wait for a Premier League goal.

Mohamed Salah got his obligatory goal against Man Utd at the death, but by then it was very much too little, too late. Of course, the goalscorers on the night (Sancho and Rashford) will be held metaphorically aloft by all those associated with Man Utd, but every player earned their corn tonight.

One particular performer, Tyrell Malacia, produced a confident full debut for his new club, keeping Salah muzzled for much of the contest and proving his worth, both defensively and offensively. It was quite the baptism of fire, but he passed his first acid test with distinction.

In fact, the 23-year-old finished the game having registered more tackles than any other player on the pitch (five), while he also had the second-most touches of any Man Utd player (41), behind only Bruno Fernandes (60) and the highest passing accuracy of any starter (93%) — he was the only starter (from either Man Utd or Liverpool) to register over 90% passing accuracy.

As the clock was winding down, former Man Utd full-back Gary Neville waxed lyrical about the Dutchman during his commentary work for Sky Sports. He said: “He’s got something that lad, guts and courage”.

Some fans were even quick to compare the left-back to another of the club’s defensive immortals, with many seeing parallels in his game to a certain Patrice Evra. If the comparisons ring true, then Man Utd have a commanding left-back for years to come…