Man United stun Liverpool as Erik ten Hag’s bold call to drop Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire pays off and Marcus Rashford ends barren goal drought August 23, 2022 – Posted in: Soccer

A Manchester United side that was in the midst of crisis came up with the best possible solution at Old Trafford, downing rivals Liverpool 2-1.

Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford scored the first goals of the Erik ten Hag era, plunging their fiercest of foes into the chaos they’ve been desperately trying to escape.

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The centre forward berth unexpectedly went to Rashford, who snapped his goalscoring drought

Ten Hag made some huge calls to drop Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire

AFP

Ten Hag made some huge calls to drop Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire

Sancho also paid his new manager back

AFP

Sancho also paid his new manager back

Amidst the backdrop of more protest and more unrest after a horrendous start to the season that saw a 2-1 loss to Brighton and a 4-0 humiliation against Brentford, Ten Hag managed to puncture the green and gold flares.

News came out that Cristiano Ronaldo and captain Harry Maguire had been dropped, and with fans still outside the stadium protesting, their side got off to a ferocious start.

United instantly stamped their intention on the game with Diogo Dalot setting the tempo physically and Liverpool’s problems were quickly laid bare.

Ten Hag has just spent £60million on Casemiro to fix his troublesome midfield, but the Brazilian’s presence in the stands was enough, as Liverpool’s aging and injury-prone options in the centre got played through.

The warning signs came early on for the Reds with an Anthony Elanga effort hitting the post, and their worst fears were confirmed in the 16th minute when Sancho was given all the time in the world to sit James Milner down and slot through a gaping hole in Jurgen Klopp’s defence.

Milner berated Virgil van Dijk in the aftermath with the Dutchman looking well off the pace, but the whole team was unrecognisable from last season.

Milner laid into Van Dijk after the opener

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Milner laid into Van Dijk after the opener

The Dutchman gave Sancho acres of space to slot into

The Dutchman gave Sancho acres of space to slot into


By the 53rd minute Marcus Rashford had Erik ten Hag’s side two goals to the good, in the same fixture last season they were five down at the mark.

The England international started ahead of both Ronaldo and Martial, and Ten Hag’s surprise faith paid off, with the no.10 expertly guiding in to snap a scoring drought that lasted 997 minutes.

As an even bigger swing of how things have changed in little over a week, David de Gea, who came in for intense criticism for the Brentford capitulation, then became key.

De Gea recovered from his Brentford nightmare to deny Liverpool’s chances

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De Gea recovered from his Brentford nightmare to deny Liverpool’s chances

The Spaniard made a series of efforts to end the Red’s chances as well as their confidence, and despite a late Mohamed Salah goal where he possibly could have done better, his job was done to give Ten Hag his first competitive win as Red Devils boss.

United are keen to add even more to Casemiro with Ajax expecting a bid in the region of £85m for Ten Hag’s former man Antony, and big money links to plenty more remain.

Liverpool, though, are unlikely to act with just over a week left in the window, and an injury crisis that will have to be fixed by players who regularly return to the treatment table.

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