Manchester United succumbed to a 4-2 defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Thursday evening that saw some woeful defending from the Red Devils. Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær reverted to his strongest lineup after we had played against Leicester City 48 hours ago. It was a bright start from United and for the first twenty minutes or so we had that high intensity. We could have scored more than once which would have put the Merseysiders’ chances of reaching the top-four out of sight.
Bright start from United but then tails off
An early chance fell to Edinson Cavani early when Alison Becker’s clearance fell to the Uruguayan but he missed from a great position. We took the lead in the 10th minute when Bruno Fernandes’ strike towards the opposition goal struck Liverpool’s Nat Phillips who deflected the ball into the back of the net. United continued to press as we looked to press home the advantage.
Liverpool then had the chance to level the scores when Trent Alexander-Arnold put a cross into the box that Diogo made contact with, only for Dean Henderson to make the save. The opposition was awarded a penalty in the 26th minute as Bailly clears the ball inside the box but he clips Nat Phillips as he followed through. VAR stepped in and asked the referee to head over to the monitor and look again. Referee Anthony Taylor decided to overturn his original decision.
They did level the scores in the 34th minute when Nat Phillips’ low shot was turned into the net by Diogo Jota, who was probably their best player in that first half. United had failed once again to clear the ball from a corner.
The opposition took the lead just before half time when Paul Pogba gave away the free kick. Trent Alexander-Arnold whipped in the cross towards the box, which saw Roberto Firmino head the ball into the back of the net at the far post after pulling away from Pogba.
A comedy of defensive errors
If United fans were hoping for Second Half FC to come out and make the turnaround were extinguished within the first minutes of the second half. Liverpool made it 3-1 as Roberto Firmino doubled his tally for the night when he scored from close range after Dean Henderson spilled a shot from Alexander-Arnold. The third goal we conceded was a comedy of errors. Fred had casually given the ball away on the edge of the area. Luke Shaw was then caught out trying to dribble his way out. It was an easy tap for the Liverpool forward. United looked so unsure in the defence and we certainly lacked the leadership of Harry Maguire.
Jota then hit the post just before the hour mark and Alexander-Arnold also came close to scoring as they continued to dominate us throughout the game. There was hope for United when Marcus Rashford scored in the 68th minute when he raced onto a pass from Edinson Cavani before putting the ball into the corner of the net.
Could Not Find The Equaliser as United chased the game
We had a big chance to level the game in the 70th minute with the ball bouncing around in the opposition box when Mason Greenwood had two separate opportunities to score, with Nat Phillips clearing his first effort off the line before his second effort was blocked. United continued to put the pressure on Liverpool as they searched for the equaliser. However, as we chased for this, the spaces became more open and the opposition pounced on this. Mohamed Salah raced clear of our defence to slot the ball home past Dean Henderson and seal the points for the Merseysiders.
This was United’s fourth game in eight days. Defensive mistakes cost us again, especially from set-pieces. This has to be addressed if we want to be potentially title challengers next season. We are back in action on May 18th when we take on Fulham at Old Trafford where we will see fans back inside the stadium in a reduced capacity for the first time in over a year.
Possession: Man United 52%-48% Liverpool
Shots: Man United 17-17 Liverpool
Shots on target: Man United 3-8 Liverpool
Corners: Man United 6-4 Liverpool
Fouls: Man United 10-12 Liverpool
Man of the Match: Aaron Wan-Bissaka