Manchester United ran out deserved winners against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Monday (22 August) night, with goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford earning the hosts their first victory of the 2022-23 Premier League campaign.
Mohamed Salah pulled one back for the visitors, but it was too little, too late as Man Utd held on to the victory.
Erik ten Hag’s side were the better team on the night, and they started the game on the front foot.
Anthony Elanga should have put the Red Devils ahead shortly after the game kicked off, but his effort could only hit the upright after being left one-on-one with Alisson following a brilliant lay-off from Bruno Fernandes.
The youngster made up for his miss with a great cutback for Sancho as the game approached the 15th minute, and the England international forward took his time to pull a dummy that sat James Milner down and deceived Allison before slotting the ball into the net.
Man Utd went into the break with their lead, and they resumed with more hunger, constantly threatening the Liverpool defence.
They finally did so seven minutes later after a poor control from Jordan Henderson put the ball towards Anthony Martial.
The Frenchman found Rashford with a true pass that left the Man Utd Academy Graduate through on goal and he wasted no time burying his strike beyond the Reds goalie.
Both sides continued to look for the next goal but it was Jurgen Klopp‘s side who found it, with Salah halving the deficit with nine minutes left on the clock.
Liverpool tried to mount pressure on Man Utd, but they just could not do enough and were condemned to their first defeat of the campaign after drawing their first two games.
The Merseysiders had to come from behind to hold Fulham to a 2-2 stalemate before a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace, but Man Utd proved too much for them, and the result has left them in 16th place in the table.
The Red Devils lost 2-1 to Brighton on the opening weekend before a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brentford followed.
The much-deserved win leaves them in 14th place, and Ten Hag will be hoping it can spur them on going forward.
The Dutchman has brought in four players since joining in the summer, but whether there are plans to add more before the transfer window shuts remains to be seen.
On the other hand, Liverpool have made three seasons, but the loss of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich and injuries have not helped their cause, and they could be in for a torrid campaign.
A relieved Ten Hag told the BBC:
“The first win of course brings a lot of joy. We had a difficult start but I am very happy especially for the fans and against Liverpool.
“I enjoyed it from the first minute, it was such a big fight. Both teams made a huge performance and it was a great night especially for the Manchester United fans.”
A disappointed Klopp commented:
“The start of the game was exactly what everyone excepted, what United fans expected, they were after us. They started slightly more aggressive than us, they could more play the game they wanted than we could play the game we wanted.
“They scored the goal, which we had to defend differently, but that is how it is with goals. In the second part of the first half we were there and caused them problems. We had massive chances.
“At half time we showed the boys a couple of situations we did really well and wanted to do that again but then we conceded the second goal. Then we have to chase the game properly and then you can get in a bit of a rush.
“We scored a goal and we deserved in that period and then you have to force it, we tried, have to admit in the end not good enough and that is why we lost.
“I don’t have a lot of arguments, we lost the game. On another day, with more conviction about what we are doing, we can turn it around. That is how it is.
“To play the football we are able to play, we want to fight. We have a good home game on Saturday and Anfield has to be rocking. We have to set the fire and the rhythm.
“We will try absolutely everything that every Liverpool supporter will expect – we will fight for our lives.”