The Red Devils breathed fire into Erik ten Hag’s reign with a determined 2-1 victory over Liverpool – marking just a second win from 13 Premier League H2Hs – after the buildup to the game witnessed crowds of protesting home fans.
Considering the negative headlines surrounding the club, it was scarcely believable that Erik ten Hag’s side could leapfrog Liverpool in the Premier League standings with victory here. However, the Reds’ rocky start meant that they arrived at Old Trafford looking for their first win of the season. It wasn’t to be however, as United produced an excellent display of attacking prowess and defensive resilience to defeat their old adversaries.
Ten Hag became the first United manager to start his tenure with two defeats in over a century, after his side’s 4-0 defeat to Brentford last time out. His charges started wickedly here though, full of energy, and United’s pressure almost told ten minutes in with Anthony Elanga guiding his effort onto the post. A regular fixture in their title winning season, Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk looked uncharacteristically nervy and a menacing Jadon Sancho opened the scoring with a composed finish just five minutes later.
The game was played at breakneck speed, with Liverpool’s defence split open on numerous occasions and United showing new spirit and determination as the Old Trafford crowd roared their side on. Liverpool improved as the half drew to its conclusion, with Lisandro Martínez clearing off his own line, but a stubborn United backline held out as the HT whistle blew.
Smelling blood in a nervy defence, the hosts would strike again just eight minutes into the second period after some swift buildup play saw Marcus Rashford set free before the forward slotted past Alisson to double his side’s lead. Liverpool had little answer for the majority of the half, but Mohamed Salah headed in with little under ten minutes remaining to set the scene for a thrilling Old Trafford finale.
It would be a night to remember for United however and there was a tangible sense of optimism, despite the earlier protests, as Ten Hag’s name rang around Manchester, with the Red Devils capping off a fine performance by seeing out the victory.