Liverpool 2-0 Manchester United: Report, Ratings and Reaction as Late Salah Strike Seals Vital Win

A late Mohamed Salah goal followed up Virgil van Dijk’s first half opening goal and put Liverpool 16 clear at the top of the Premier League, as Jurgen Klopp’s side sealed a win that may just have handed them their first top-flight title in 30 years. 

It took the home side just 14 minutes to get themselves into the lead, with Virgil van Dijk overpowering the United defence with ease to convert a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner.

Virgil Van Dijk

​United responded by falling to pieces, and only some excellent last-ditch defending from Luke Shaw prevented Sadio Mané from poking in a second. VAR and the offside flag then took to the stage, respectively ruling out goals from Roberto Firmino and Georginio Wijnaldum – the former in controversial fashion, for an earlier foul on David de Gea. 

Anthony Martial and Andreas Pereira gave the visitors a glimmer or two of hope as half-time approached, but ultimately they were exceptionally lucky to remain in the game at all – even more so after Mané forced a terrific one-on-one stop from De Gea on the brink of the whistle. 

​Mohamed Salah fluffed another great ​Liverpool chance as the second half resumed with more of the same, before Jordan Henderson rattled the post with a powerful left-footed effort, in a game that looked increasingly as if it just could not be killed off by the home side. 

Mohamed Salah

The visitors crept back in throughout the final half hour, and Anthony Martial blasted over after some excellent link-up play with Pereira. For all the huff and puff, however, you’d be hard pushed to call the game ‘narrow’ given the overall balance of play, and it was the Reds who had the much-deserved final say. 

The decisive goal came in stoppage time, when Alisson found Salah with a long-ball over the United defence, and the Egyptian finished off the game with his first ever goal against United. 


​Liverpool

Key Talking Point

For Liverpool, everything this season comes secondary to winning the Premier League title. They want it badly; perhaps worse than any team has in the competition’s history, and came into this one with another chance to stretch their already-unthinkable lead even further. 

Jürgen Klopp

With Manchester City dropping points and Leicester falling to defeat earlier in the weekend, they knew they could go 16 clear at the head of the division and put right the one blotch on their near-perfect record so far. They’ve been so consistent this season that few doubted they would do so.

It perhaps wasn’t as comfortable as it should have been considering their overall dominance of the game, but once again they rose to the occasion and got there. They’re simply incapable of dropping points at present, and no matter what happens in the title race from here on out, you have to imagine their current lead is unassailable. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Alisson (6); Alexander-Arnold (7), Gomez (7), Van Dijk (8), Robertson (6); Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Henderson (8), Wijnaldum (8); Salah (6), Firmino (8*), Mané (6).

Subs: Lallana (6), Fabinho (5), Origi (5).


Roberto Firmino

It was a day in which you could argue none of the Liverpool front three hit the heights they are capable of, but nonetheless the show was run by Roberto Firmino, whose intelligent movement and composure on the ball was an invaluable asset in his side’s control of the game. 



His Anfield account for the season looked as if it had been opened in the first half, only for a cruel and arguably harsh VAR intervention, but he kept his head up and turned in a trademark performance. Regardless of his criticised goal return, he is the gravitational centre of this Liverpool team and the nucleus of their success. 

Other than perhaps Van Dijk, he is the one player Liverpool could not afford to lose under any circumstances – and don’t they just know that. 


Manchester United

Key Talking Point

As much as they would have been told otherwise, United had little to lose as they travelled to Anfield, against a Liverpool team had not lost there in close to 18 months. Any sort of positive performance would have been a positive; unfortunately that was not forthcoming.  

Brandon Williams,Roberto Firmino

No one can take a candle to Liverpool at their best at present, but United’s limp subservience, even if it was interspersed with the odd hint of exuberance, made it a simple task. The defeat in itself won’t be much of a concern, but the lack of desire to challenge and take the game to their famous rivals will be. 

Only Liverpool’s profligacy and a couple of tight decisions prevented this one from getting out of hand for United, and that’s something they will know they have to take a lesson from. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: De Gea (6); Lindelof (6), Maguire (5), Shaw (5); Wan-Bissaka (5), Matic (7), Fred (8)*, Williams (6); Pereira (7), Martial (6), James (5)

Subs: Mata (5), Greenwood (5), Dalot (N/A)


Fred

In truth there weren’t too many pass-marks in United’s overall performance, but the improvement of the much-maligned Fred was once again evident, as he kept United forward in spite of the difficult circumstances. 



The Brazilian looks twice the player he once was, and a battling, driving performance on the most difficult stage of them all demonstrated clearly that he could yet be an important part of this United team going forward. 


Looking Ahead

Liverpool travel to Wolves looking to further strengthen their grip on the title on Thursday, before FA Cup action takes them to Shrewsbury Town next weekend. 

United, meanwhile, host Burnley on Wednesday before travelling to one of Tranmere or Watford.


For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

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Man Utd Twitter Goes Into Meltdown as Erling Haaland Scores Debut Hat-Trick for Dortmund

​I would not like to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ed Woodward tonight. 

Manchester United’s recent exploits in the transfer market have been well-documented (and occasionally embarrassing), and another big, fat chicken came home to roost on Saturday afternoon. 


Teen prodigy Erling Haaland famously rejected the Red Devils’ January advances and chose Borussia Dortmund instead, despite having a clear connection to the manager and fellow Norwegian Solskjaer. 

A move to Dortmund over Man Utd would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, but Haaland’s decision comes as little surprise with the current circus surrounding Old Trafford. 

But in fairness, is the kid even any good? Okay, he scored a few goals in Austria, but to quote the legendary Shania Twain, ‘that don’t impress me much.’ 

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Well, Haaland bagged a hat-trick with his first three shots on his ​Dortmund debut, helping the German giants come back from 3-1 down to win 5-3. 

​How do you like that, Shania?! 

Sufficed to say, Man Utd fans took the news of the wonderkid’s hatty pretty well.



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I’m not bitter, you are. 

But who needs Haaland when you have exciting prospect Mason Greenwood breaking into the team, right guys?…Guys? 




But wait! The Bundesliga is only the Championship in disguise, so Haaland’s goals don’t mean anything. *Bashes head repeatedly against keyboard.* 

I’m not sure anyone really understands this tweet, but it was included for comedic purposes.

But of course, the most hate was saved for Woodward. The man whose career at Old Trafford could be summed up by watching a giraffe try to ice skate with two pairs of slippers on its feet missed the mark once again. 




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​​Failing to attract players to the biggest club in the world should be a sackable offence, and in the words of Jesse Pinkman ‘he can’t keep getting away with it!’ 


‘The mother of all clowns’. Meltdown complete. 

Brace yourselves, ​Man Utd fans. This is only the beginning of Erling Haaland’s rise to the top of football.

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5 of The Best Debuts in Football History

In case you have been living under a rock for the past six months, a new goalscoring machine has burst onto the scene and taken the football world by storm. The name? ​Erling Haaland. 

Much was made of the record-breaking numbers which the teenage sensation posted in the Champions League this season and his goals were firing Red Bull Salzburg to domestic success in Austria. 

But Haaland was always destined for greater things, and the Norwegian superstar completed his big-money move to Borussia Dortmund in the January transfer window. 

‘How is he getting on?’ I hear you ask. 

Erling Braut Haaland

Well, that’s him walking off with the match ball. Haaland was a second-half substitute, introduced with his side 3-1 down to Augsburg in a crucial match for Der BVB’s title charge. The wonderkid promptly opened his account to give the visitors some hope, and then proceeded to dispatch a superb hat-trick and lead Dortmund to a 5-3 victory. 

​Haaland’s blistering start to life in Germany is certainly sensational –  but not unprecedented. 

In light (and in honour) of the big striker’s heroics, 90min takes a look at five other stars who hit the ground running at their new clubs.


Aubameyang vs Augsburg (2014) 

Is anyone else sensing a bit of deja vu here? 

That’s right, Haaland was not the first ​Dortmund striker to score on his league debut – nor the first to score on his league debut against Augbsurg. The unfortunate Bundesliga side were also on the end of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s opening treble for Der BVB, and the striker went on to torment most teams in the German top flight over the coming years. 

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​Aubameyang demonstrated his killer instinct from the off, planting home a diving header before doubling his tally with a calm finish. 

The Gabonese forward capped off his afternoon by rounding the goalkeeper and rolling the ball into an empty net, to give the Dortmund fans a sneak preview of what was to come for the Bundesliga giants. 


​Wayne Rooney vs Fenerbahce (2004) 

One of the most iconic moments in Champions League history. Wayne Rooney, the ballsy teenager who ​Manchester United had forked out £25m to bring to Old Trafford, announced himself in the most devastating manner on his debut for the Red Devils back in 2004. 

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Sir Alex Ferguson’s men faced Turkish giants Fenerbahce in the European group stage, and ​Rooney set about writing his name into the record books without breaking a sweat. The youngster got off the mark with a rifled finish into the roof of the net and doubled his tally with a long-range strike which arrowed into the bottom right-hand corner. 

But his night was far from over. When Man Utd were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, you may be forgiven for thinking that Rooney would allow a teammate with more authority and experience to have a pop at goal. But the precocious forward picked up the ball and curled an inch-perfect free-kick beyond the despairing dive of the goalkeeper. 

An unforgettable evening. 


Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs Lorient (2012)

He had to make the list, didn’t he? Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped turn Paris Saint-Germain into the winning-machine that they are today – and he was dragging the French club kicking and screaming to success from the very beginning. Lorient had taken a shock 2-0 lead over Les Parisiens on Ibrahimovic’s Ligue 1 debut, and the Swede took centre stage in a dramatic second half. 

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The former Milan star halved the deficit on 64 minutes, expertly controlling a high ball in the area before squeezing his shot home to give the Parc des Princes faithful some hope. They were made to wait until the 90th minute for the decisive moment however, when Ibrahimovic converted a last-gasp penalty to earn a point for the French side. 

At the heart of everything. 


Romario vs Real Sociedad (1993) 

Romario is undoubtedly one of the silkiest and most exciting players to ever grace our beautiful game, and he showed the world exactly what he was all about on his ​Barcelona debut against Real Sociedad in 1993. There was plenty of anticipation surrounding the Brazilian – and he did not disappoint. 

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The diminutive forward opened his account with a typically composed strike, but his second was somewhat more chaotic. Barcelona missed a string of chances within the space of a few seconds, but Romario was on hand to tap home from close range and put the game beyond doubt. The forward then completed his hat-trick, producing a sublime turn in the area and lashing a ruthless strike past the goalkeeper to send Camp Nou into pandemonium. 

A brief but wonderful spell at the top of world football.  


Christian Vieri vs Verona (1999)

Christian ‘Bobo’ Vieri arrived at ​Inter in 1999 for around £32m, and the San Siro faithful immediately fell in love with their new ‘bomber’. The Italian striker played his first match for I Nerazzurri against Verona, and he marked the occasion with a stunning hat-trick. Vieri’s first was a moment of pure genius, controlling the ball with his chest on the half-turn, and poking home a precise finish. 

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Vieri was joined by the Ronaldo in the second half, and the Italian was soon celebrating his second goal for his new club, racing to the ball ahead of the onrushing goalkeeper and readjusting well to fire home from an acute angle. He completed his treble soon after, breaking clear of the defence and wrong-footing his opposing shot-stopper with a left-footed finish. 

A real goalscorer. 

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8 Never-Ending Transfer Sagas That Just Dragged On & On & On

​There’s nothing more frustrating than a transfer saga that refuses to end. 

All we want is confirmation, one way or the other. And this January we’re caught right in the middle of a couple of the longest-running transfer sagas we’ve seen in years. They’re at no signs of an end, either.

With that in mind, what better time is there to review some of history’s most tedious transfer sagas? Here’s eight of the best (or, possibly, worst) for you lucky readers.


Bruno Fernandes to Man Utd

Bruno Fernandes

Where else to start but with this humdinger.

Silky playmaker Bruno Fernandes has hit a combined 78 goals and assists in his last 79 matches for Sporting CP. In other words, he’s a very attractive prospect for most of Europe’s big clubs.

This story has seen both Manchester giants, ​Tottenham Hotspur, ​Chelsea, ​Inter and many others fall at the Portuguese midfielder’s feet. It’s the ​Red Devils who look to be closing in on him, but at the moment talks between United and Sporting remain in deadlock over a transfer fee.

We could’ve said the same six months ago.


Paul Pogba to Real Madrid? Juventus?

Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba never seems to be fully content with his situation at Old Trafford, which has led to persistent rumours that the Frenchman is looking to engineer an escape route.

A U-turn is on the cards as ​Juventus make their interest known, while ​Real Madrid are likewise lurking. Zinedine Zidane’s side have been tracking him for some time, and could swoop in the summer.

This saga just needs to close, and everyone just needs to move on.


Neymar’s Return to Barcelona

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In the summer of 2018, we began hearing rumours that ​Barcelona were working day and night on a deal to bring Paris Saint-German’s Neymar back to Camp Nou. 

Guess what came of it? 

Nothing.

Fast forward 12 months and La Blaugrana are once more on the hunt for the Brazilian superstar after Ousmane Dembele’s struggles. 

But wait! Now it sounds like the Catalans have no interest in re-signing Neymar, who they view as a troublesome player with the potential to damage squad harmony.

Still, the saga refuses to die, with the Spanish champions ​allegedly set to return for the PSG forward once the current campaign reaches its conclusion. 

At this rate, we’ll be talking about this transfer until the day Neymar retires, and maybe after that, too.


Sol Campbell’s Betrayal

fans tottenham

​Tottenham supporters were a little on edge back in 2000, with various media outlets linking club captain Sol Campbell with a free transfer to north London rivals ​Arsenal.

Nevertheless, the Spurs faithful weren’t too concerned when the rumours started to emerge. A move to the Gunners sounded outlandish, and the skipper had repeatedly reaffirmed his commitment to the Lilywhites.

Speculation grew, however, and it continued to do so. For over a year, Campbell’s future was very much up in the air, and a hot topic of conversation. The longer he refused to put pen to paper on a new deal, the more worried Tottenham supporters got.

The media frenzy finally ended in July 2001 as Arsenal announced the capture of the centre-back. Fair to say, those he left behind were livid, labelling him ‘Judas’ for his controversial transfer, and the manner in which he went about it.


Chelsea’s Fondness for Steven Gerrard

Chelsea v Liverpool UEFA Champions League at Stamford Bridge 2005

You can see why ​Chelsea were determined to lure Steven Gerrard away from ​Liverpool, with the Blues hoping to pair him up with Frank Lampard, thereby forming a midfield super group.

It seems the boyhood Reds fan was likewise keen on joining Jose Mourinho’s revolution in west London, before opting to stay at Anfield in light of death threats from Reds supporters.

Gerrard had handed in a transfer request mere months after he’d led the Merseysiders to victory in the 2005 ​Champions League final, having been linked with a switch to Chelsea for well over 12 months.

Were it not for the threats he received – as well as the stunning protests that took place outside Anfield and Melwood – we may well have seen Stevie G slipping up for the Blues, rather than the Reds.


Paulo Dybala’s Juventus Exit

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It’s January 2020, and we’re still discussing Paulo Dybala’s impending departure from ​Juventus.

The Argentine has looked to be on his way out of La Vecchia Signora ever since the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo in Turin, but as things stand, he’ll be at the Allianz Stadium until next summer, at least.

​Issues over image rights were all that stopped Dybala joining Tottenham in August, demonstrating how close he’s come to cutting ties with Juve. 

So, he’s still pushing for a move away, right? Nope, the forward has instead started ​negotiating a new contract with the club. It won’t be long before his name is littering the rumour mill once again.


Real Madrid’s Pursuit of Eden Hazard

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This one began midway through the last decade as people started to appreciate what a wonderfully gifted footballer Eden Hazard is. Fans realised he was – to recycle an over-used pun – the ​Real deal.

Then Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane went and said ​he’d pick the Belgian over Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, which was always going to cause some commotion.

And so, the hunt began, with Real Madrid spending the next five years tracking Hazard, the Spaniards eventually getting their way last June as they wrapped up a €100m deal for the Chelsea winger.

Of course, there were twists and turns along the way. One minute, Real were abandoning their pursuit, and the next, they were prepared to break the bank to land him. 

By the time Easter 2019 rolled around, Blues fans had accepted Hazard’s departure was unavoidable, and so it proved. At least they had some time to prepare for his exit.


Cesc Fabregas’ Catalan Homecoming

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas was probably linked with a return to Barcelona before he’d even been born, such was the drawn-out nature of this saga.

From the moment he made his Arsenal debut in 2003, the midfielder’s future in north London was up for debate, with the media incessantly reporting that La Blaugrana wanted their man back.

Many campaigns came and went, but nothing came of the speculation, though a day never went by without a newspaper claiming Fabregas was poised for a Catalan homecoming.

There was only one way the story would end, the playmaker re-signing for his hometown club in 2011 after Barça agreed a £35m fee with the Gunners. 

Sadly, things didn’t work out for Cesc at Camp Nou, with Chelsea bringing him back to the ​Premier League just three years later.


For more from Ed Alexander, follow him on Twitter

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11 of the Best Pieces of Manchester United Merchandise You Can Buy Now

Birthdays are a nightmare, aren’t they? Never sure what to ask people to get you for yours, never sure what to get other people for theirs, and that’s before we even think about doing it all again at Christmas. 

Good news though. If you’re a United fan, or if you know a United fan, we’ve got you covered. ​


20th Anniversary Treble-Winners Badge Set

One of the collector, this – one to keep on a shelf, maybe on display, then show the kids when there’s a generation in danger of forgetting that United had the best all-round season of any English club, ever. 

Available from the United ​Store


Chinese New Year Shirt

Oh. My. Days. When United came out to warm up for the Norwich game in the season’s most unlikely kit, Twitter and all that was on fire – ripping the absolutes out of the shirt. I mean, just so many dragons. 

Whisper it quietly though…the shirt slaps. Look at Martial in that, look at Rashford. No wonder they won that game 4-0. 

Available from adid​as


Touchscreen Gloves! 

It’s a well-known fact of football that every single stadium is at least 5º colder inside than it is outside. It’s also a well-known fact of football that most of the season happens in autumn and winter, two of the – y’know – colder times of year. 

Solution? United-badged touchscreen-ready gloves. Obviously. 

Available from Pro:Dire​ct


Chivas Regal

Trying to remember where you’ve heard the name ‘Chivas’ before? It’s because Chivas Regal are United’s official spirits partner, innit.

They’ve done a few things with the club – the 1999 Victory Edition, the Icon 50th Anniversary Edition and a 13-year-old blend to celebrate Fergie’s 13 titles – and they’re now fully a part of the furniture. And their whiskies are all well good. 

Available from The Whisky Exc​hange


Retro-Style Customisable Mug

Couple of options here, and you’ll understand why once it gets explained. You want a nice, stylish ‘Rashford, 10’ mug for the office or home? Easy. Pick your player, pick your number (Fred apologists, step right up).

Then again…what happens if your player leaves? There’s only so much shelf life a ‘Pogba, 6’ mug’s going to have. Stick your own name and number on it, go on. You’re not going anywhere any time soon, are you?

Available from the Unit​ed Store


Green & Gold Phone Case

Want a subtle way to protest the Glazer regime without buying and wearing a garish scarf? Of course you do. 

Lucky for you, you can get the green and gold 1992-94 away kit which saw United into the Premier League era on a phone case. A really nice phone case, and all. Remember that kit? Your dad probably does. 

Available from UK Soccer​ Shop


Treble-Winners Throwback Long Sleeve Shirt

Is there anything better than a shirt without a sponsor? Turns out yes, one thing – a shirt without a sponsor designed in the style of the shirt that United won the 1999 treble in.

It’s made by adidas, it’s got the nice collar it’s…could be writing anything here really, eh? You don’t care. You’re busy with your mouse hovering over the ‘add to basket’ button. 

Available from Pro:D​irect


Predator Precision David Beckham Trainers

adidas Predators are one of the most – if not the most – iconic football boots of the last…well, ever. David Beckham? Yeah, pretty iconic. Streetstyle versions of Predators, designed in a collab with United’s greatest free-kick taker? Take our money.

Available from ​adidas​


Sharp Kit Mouse Mat

What are you looking for from this description? It’s a mouse mat, with the design of the United shirt from the late 90s. It was a really nice shirt. It’s a nice mouse mat. One for the old school computer-using parents or for the PC gamer, here. 

Available from UK Socce​r Shop


Club Calendar

Newcastle’s 2020 club calendar: bad, had pictures from 18 months ago and included players who left ages before it got put into shops.

Man Utd’s 2020 club calendar: good, contains only pictures of players who are still at the club, doesn’t have even a crumb of Ashley Young. 

Available from Ama​zon


Retro Dennis Law 1963 FA Cup Final Shirt

Old-school kit perverts of the world rejoice, you can get a replica of Dennis Law’s 1963 FA Final number 10 shirt, and…well, there’s a reason kits have evolved so much in the 55+ years since that final. Wouldn’t advise playing in this shirt – probably best off hanging it up and displaying it somewhere. You can get some well nice frames now, y’know. 

Available from UK Soccer​ Shop


For more from Chris Deeley, follow him on Twitter at @ThatChris1209!


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