Liverpool found themselves losing to their arch rivals Manchester United for a fourth Premier League meeting in a row, with luck not on their side and the lengthy injury list making matters worse.
A game that was expected to hold more potential seemed to be ending with a goalless draw until the 78th minute when Wayne Rooney scored an impeccable goal to get his club ahead and ultimately winning them the game.
The goal was United’s only shot on target and concluded the victory for the Red Devils’. Though Rooney won the game, David De Gea was to be applauded for making the victory possible. The Spaniard was tested twice as much as Simon Mignolet and was called to be the savior at many occasions.
Lifting United two points behind Tottenham and at the fifth position on the league table, Rooney scored his first goal at Anfield in 11 years.
Though the game could hardly be categorized as a thrilling one, the result most likely left Louis Van Gaal’s side satisfied for having gotten away with three points.
The usual buzz in the air was missing as the teams went head to head, making it evident that both clubs are struggling to regain their former glories.
Liverpool had most of the possession for the first 45 minutes but did not manage to make the most of it. They had only one shot on target which was from Adam Lallana, who met a ball by Lucas and fired a header straight at De Gea. This was followed by a rebound hit by Roberto Firmino who shot wide.
The return of the captain to the starting lineup did not do much to help. Alongside James Milner, the duo was of little threat to the opposing goalkeeper. However, a volley from Jordan Henderson was the best move of the first half.
Manchester United failed to utilize Simon Mignolet’s recent tendency to increased errors as they kept the Belgian international idle for the most part.
Towards the end of the first half Ashley Young had to be replaced by youngster Cameron Borthwick-Jackson due to an injury.
The start of the second half once again saw Liverpool being more in control than the away side. Emre Can, who looked keen to bring in the ice breaker, was denied twice by De Gea. The goalkeeper was on his toes throughout as he made a brilliant save to stop an attempt by Can, followed by with another save to prevent Firmino from scoring from a rebound.
A fine pass by Firmino was met by Henderson who sent his shot straight into De Gea’s arms.
Soon United decided to up their game as they came close to scoring a goal. An angled shot by Anthony Martial was fired wide off the far post.
Mamadou Sakho also tried his luck upfront but only managed to send a header over the goal.
The deciding factor of the game soon arrived as a set-piece became the hosts’ worst enemy once again. United took a short corner as substitute Juan Mata crossed the ball to Marouane Fellaini, who unluckily headed against the crossbar. Rooney was quick to react and smashed the ball into goal, marking a phenomenal goal to his name.
A frustrated Jurgen Klopp tried to turn the tables as he quickly made some changes to the squad. Defender Kolo Toure was replaced by striker Christian Benteke, which was followed by newly signed defender Steven Caulker asked to join the game, once again playing up front for a second game in a row. However, the makeshift striker did little to help Liverpool’s endeavors, as Liverpool remain without their main man upfront, Daniel Sturridge.
Date: Sunday, 17th January, 2016
Referee: Mark Clattenburg
Score: Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
Scorers: Wayne Rooney 78’
Yellow Cards: Chris Smalling 65’, Marouane Fellaini 75’
Red Cards: None
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Lucas, Henderson, Can, Milner, Lallana, Firmino.
Manchester United: De Gea, Young, Smalling, Blind, Darmian, Schneiderlin, Fellaini, Lingard, Herrera, Martial, Rooney
Man of the Match:
David De Gea