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Manchester United 2-4 Liverpool: Chaotic defending costs United against rivals

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Bad performance, but Glazers out nonetheless.

Manchester United v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Dave Thompson - Pool/Getty Images

Manchester United fell to Liverpool at home in a 4-2 loss, playing with a massive protest happening just outside the ground against the Glazer ownership. They had a chance to get back into the game late, but weren’t nearly as determined as Klopp’s side, who are desperate to make up ground in the top 4 race.

Liverpool got the first clear chance, with Roberto Firmino in on goal. Eric Bailly got in front of the shot/pass and sent it out for a corner. Shouts of handball from the Liverpool players, but VAR never ruled in their favor. Bailly’s hand was behind his body when making the tackle, and the deflection came onto his hand from the block with his foot.

Just seconds later Alisson nearly gifted Cavani a goal with a poor pass, but United’s no. 7 couldnt direct it on target.

United got the lead through a deflected Bruno Fernandes shot. A bad giveaway in midfield by Liverpool allowed United forward. Rashford and Wan-Bissaka stretched the field right, creating space for Bruno to cut and shoot with the outside of his boot. It looked on target anyway, but a touch by Nat Phillips turned it in more directly. In doing so he robbed all of us of seeing a brilliant strike go in untouched.

They had a chance to double their lead in the 19th minuted, with Pogba playing a cross towards Rashford from the left. Rashford left it for Cavani rather than meeting it at the near post, but the pass had a bit too much on it for the Uruguayan to reach it.

Liverpool responded with a rare move into United’s half. Thiago found Salah on the wing, who laid it back for Trent Alexander-Arnold to hit a cross towards Jota. It found the Portuguese forward, but Henderson had rushed out well to get right in front and block the shot. It led to a good spell of attack from Liverpool, from which they were given a penalty from Anthony Taylor. Eric Bailly caught Phillips on the follow through of a tackle on the edge of the box, and VAR called for a review. After a look at the monitor, Taylor overturned his original call and play resumed.

United tried to regain control of the game at the half hour mark. Pogba had a good chance to score off of a corner, heading the ball back across Alisson’s net, but it landed wide of the target. They couldn’t maintain control up the pitch, and Liverpool soon found their way forward. Dean Henderson made a brilliant save to force a corner on 33 minutes, and on 34 minutes Jota flicked on a shot by Phillips to make it 1-1. The ball bounced around the area after the corner, and Phillips took advantage of the chaos by hitting it through bodies back towards goal. It bounced kindly to Jota, who took it well and equalized.

Liverpool continued to look dangerous despite a good spell from United just before halftime, and they were rewarded with another goal in stoppage time. Firmino headed in a cross at the back post to send Liverpool ahead going into the break. He was marked by Pogba on a free kick, and Alexander-Arnold’s delivery led his trajectory perfectly to put it past Henderson untouched.

United began the second half under fire almost immediately, and sloppy play at the back let Firmino in to make it 3-1. Alexander-Arnold’s initial shot couldn’t be controlled by Henderson and bounced kindly to Firmino. United’s defense was in chaos leading up to it, and Fred and McTominay provided little aid as defensive screens in midfield. Maguire clearly missed as well. Jota could have sealed things before the hour mark, but his shot clattered back off the cross bar and United were spared a 4th concession for the time being.

Ole responded to Liverpool’s dominance by bringing Greenwood on for Fred and switching to a pivot of Pogba and McTominay. The shape looked more natural, and Liverpool, perhaps comfortable with their lead, began to sit back a bit more.

United got a reply shortly after the changes, with Rashford running onto a good through ball by Cavani and slipping it past Alisson with the left foot. It was a promising response from United after a horrible period on either side of halftime, and get them back in it with just over 20 minutes to go. Greenwood nearly equalized, but Nat Phillips cleared his effort off the line. United had taken momentum back, and had no intention of losing easily.

On 75 minutes Rashford found the ball down the left channel, slipped between Phillips and Alexander-Arnold and took a shot at Alisson’s near post, but it hit the side netting. Bruno won a free kick shortly after, with Thiago blocked his shot with his arms. His effort went for the top left corner, but it didn’t have the dip and landed on top of the net.

Despite the build up for a fantastic finish, the final 10 minutes of the game stalled out a bit. United weren’t as potent trying to break through, and lazily let in Salah to score a fourth on the break in the final minutes. McTominay was the furthest man back and couldn’t catch up, and Henderson was oddly hesitant to charge out, and left most of the goal for Salah to calmly shoot at.

An ugly night inside Old Trafford gave Liverpool a vital 3 points in their push for top 4, and leave United with a sixth loss of the season. Outside of Old Trafford thousands of fans demonstrated yet again their frustration with the current ownership of the club. The Glazers, who used the club to absorb their debts from the purchase, have delivered hollow apologies after the Super League debacle. They continue to take money out of the team without much interest or regard for the team’s performances, and absolutely no regard for the voices of supporters. They don’t deserve the control they have over something that means nothing to them and everything to so many, and have a long way to go if they intend to earn any trust. It seems impossible even, but perhaps they can start with Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.

Anyway, United go again next week against Fulham, finally getting a break of a few days after playing 4 matches in 7 days. They wouldn’t have had to if the Glazers weren’t shit owners that forced fans to protest, but here we are.