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Man U Beats Liverpool Despite No Possession, Impossible Own Goal

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United rarely had the ball and rarely attacked. The Red Devils gave up an own goal that looked impossible to score. And yet the Manchester United vs Liverpool match never seemed in doubt for the home side at Old Trafford, with a Marcus Rashford brace powering a 2-1 victory on Saturday.

Liverpool dominated in all the stats that don’t matter: possession (68-32 percent), shots (14-5) and corner kicks (13-1). But a couple of unimaginative, Route 1 attacks in the opening half hour were all Manchester United needed to secure victory. 

The Reds had their chances, but aside from a freakish own goal never really threatened David De Gea, who was more involved in his own team’s attacks than Liverpool’s. 

Manchester United vs Liverpool

United keeper David De Gea had more of an offensive impact for Manchester United vs Liverpool than Firmino, Salah and Mane combined. Photo: @ChampionsLeague | Twitter

De Gea, Romelu Lukaku and Juan Mata were the only players who touched the ball in the run up to either Rashford goal. For the first, De Gea sent a goal kick forward that Lukaku headed on for Rashford, who wasn’t followed by right back Trent Alexander-Arnold. Rashford then used a devastating cutback and fired a powerful shot into the side netting past Loris Karius in the 14th minute.

The next goal for Manchester United vs Liverpool came 10 minutes later and was nearly a carbon copy. The only difference this time was Lukaku controlled the long ball from De Gea and passed it along to a streaking Mata. While Mata lost control, the haphazard nature of the Liverpool defense forced Karius out of position, allowing Rashford to mop up a deflected ball with a composed finish to make it 2-0 in the 24th minute.

Rashford scored on United's only two shots on target all match.

Despite all the possession Liverpool had, Manchester United’s back six denied the Reds at every turn. The only way Jurgen Klopp’s side finally scored was when Eric Bailly had a wildly unfortunate own goal off a cross from Sadio Mane in the 66th minute. 

Try as they might, the Reds couldn’t do any more damage, as the front three of Roberto Firmino, Mane and Mohamed Salah were quieted in a manner rarely seen this season.

One thing both squads had in common: their former Arsenal players were underwhelming. Alexis Sanchez was unable to make an impact at winger for Manchester United. Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did not have the requisite creativity to unlock the stout opposition defense, repeatedly giving the ball away. Both were subbed off in the second half. 

The win for Manchester United vs Liverpool was its third straight in league play since a 1-0 setback to Newcastle United. More importantly, the Red Devils went five points clear of their northern rivals in second place in the Premier League.

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