Manchester United recorded their third straight Premier League victory on Saturday, seeing off Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford. An early brace from Marcus Rashford proved enough for the points, though Eric Bailly’s second half own goal made for a nervier finish than José Mourinho would’ve liked.
Liverpool made the more enterprising start, and saw plenty of possession in the game’s opening exchanges. However, it was United that drew first blood, with Rashford netting the opener inside the quarter-hour. The goal came as Romelu Lukaku flicked a David de Gea goal kick into Rashford’s path, before the young attacker darted away from Trent Alexander-Arnold and whipped a vicious shot inside Loris Karius’ far post.
The visitors should’ve been level midway through the opening half, when Virgil van Dijk escaped his marker to head a James Milner corner inches wide. It proved a costly miss, as just seconds later United went two up, and Rashford had his brace. Their second was almost a carbon copy of the first, with de Gea’s goal kick finding its way to Rashford via Lukaku, though this time he needed only one touch to bury the ball in the back of the net.
United certainly hadn’t dominated proceedings, but they had clearly identified a weakness in Liverpool’s defence, and they were exploiting it with brutal efficiency. It was almost three before the break, though Juan Mata’s overhead kick diverted Alexis Sánchez’s cross just wide of Karius’ goal.
Liverpool continued to control the game into the second half, though United’s defence coped admirably under pressure. That was until midway through the second half, when Eric Bailly handed the visitors a lifeline with a spectacular own goal, backheeling Sadio Mané’s driven cross beyond de Gea and into the net. Suddenly United’s lead looked a lot less secure.
Mourinho responded with the introduction of Marouane Fellaini, sacrificing Rashford’s hopes of a hat-trick by bringing him off. The bus was well and truly parked: neither side had recorded a single shot on target since the half-hour mark. Fortunately, it stayed that way, and United held on for a solid victory.