Man United round-up: daily Old Trafford digest... Win over Liverpool, Ten Hag, What crisis?
All the latest from Old Trafford, including an important victory over rivals Liverpool on Monday.
A crisis at Old Trafford? That is what it was described as until close to 10pm on Monday night when Manchester United defeated Liverpool at a rocking Old Trafford.
New signing Casemiro was presented pre-match, something for the supporters to cheer about for a brief moment ahead of what, for many, was going to be a torturous couple of hours against Jurgen Klopp’s team.
A heavy 4-0 defeat to Brentford in the club’s last game understandably made for a nervous pre-match atmosphere, although Erik ten Hag had other ideas.
On Monday, United were unrecognisable. Even Gary Neville was lost for words on Sky Sports. They took the game to Liverpool in the opening 15 minutes with a fighting spirit not seen at Old Trafford for 12 months. There was hunger, desire, passion and Liverpool could not handle them.
Anthony Elanga sent in a low cross from the left, Jadon Sancho picked up the ball in the box, and as he rolled his studs on it, James Milner and Alisson both fell to the floor. Bruno Fernandes pointed to the bottom left corner, urging the England international to place it. And that’s exactly what Sancho did, the coolest man inside a bouncing Old Trafford.
Rashford doubles lead
United got a second through Marcus Rashford, who was just onside in the build-up, before Mohamed Salah ensured a nervy ending as he nodded home from close range. The home crowd roared their team on. This was not something they had expected or seen in some time.
Ten Hag was so satisfied post-match that he dropped an f-bomb on live television. It’s only one win, and their first victory of the season, but the Dutch coach deserves credit with such a response after the humiliation of Brentford and maybe this will spark life into a previously dead-looking United team. New signings Tyrell Malacia and Listando Martínez were excellent in defence alongside the experienced Raphaël Varane.
Ten Hag left captain Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo out of the starting eleven. To add to the pre-game tension, Ronaldo spotted his old team-mates Roy Keane and Gary Neville on the sideline doing their pre-match analysis for Sky Sports. He had a hug and brief chat with the pair of pundits and at the same time completely blanked former Liverpool defender and pundit Jamie Carragher. Carragher has been critical of Ronaldo in his second spell at the club, and maybe the veteran striker will leave the club before the end of the transfer window, although there is not much interest, as things stand.
United will regroup after the victory over Liverpool and prepare for their trip to Southampton this weekend. Does Ten Hag go with the same eleven or will Casemiro be drafted in? It all depends on the visa status of the Brazilian player, who watched on from the stands last night. Crisis, what crisis?