Post-match mailbag … because someone had to. “By the looks of the table, does that mean Liverpool are the new owners of the ‘crisis club’ a stick? – David Wall.
“New owners… for Liverpool” – Jeff Sachs.
More from Ten Hag: “I think Bruno Fernandes showed leadership, along with Rafa Varane. They make a huge difference. But that’s what they have to bring. We need more leaders. When you want a winning team, you need more leaders. We have to bring it in every game, not only against Liverpool. It begins with the spirit. Tactics are also part of it: where can you get weapons? We play with speed up front, that’s clear, but in midfield we played good passing with Eriksen, Bruno and McTominay. I don’t have to mention that Maguire and Ronaldo are amazing players, and they will have a role in the future. Casemiro, Varane and Ronaldo have won trophies and will lead the younger players, I hope their presence will be a huge stimulus for the rest. We want to bring in the right players, not just any players, but the window is not closed. We need numbers and quality.”
… and now Heaven speak to Erik ten Hag. “We can talk about tactics, but it’s all about attitude. We brought it on the pitch, there was fighting spirit, and communication. You can see what they can achieve because they can play football well.”
[pause as discombobulated presenter performs double take, then apologises for the language despite it being over an hour past the watershed, and we’re all adults here]
“I’m sorry. [clearly still not getting why they’re making such a big deal of a wee sweary, he is from a grown-up country after all] I wanted a different approach to the Brentford game, and that’s what they brought to the pitch. This is why I am satisfied. We can play much better if we have more composure to make an extra pass. We have good players, but now we can be a team.”
Jadon Sancho talks to Sky: “It means a lot. Our first two games didn’t go that well, so we knew today was a big game, and we had to turn it around. Last week hurt a lot. Now hopefully we get some momentum, and next week we can get another win. It means a lot to us, and you can see how the fans have reacted.”
His fellow goalscorer Marcus Rashford adds: “Regardless of the circumstances you’re in, win over Liverpool is massive. We didn’t do that well, so the three points were massive. The difference was energy. We started at a good tempo. We were tired at the end, but they got a goal back and we didn’t collapse. On another day, I might have a few more goals. For us to be able to switch, hack and change positions is huge.”
A small smile betrays Erik ten Hag’s super coldness for a nanosecond. But he manages to make it to the tunnel without giving too much away. He will know there is still an awful lot of work to do, but his players responded spectacularly to that humiliation at Brentford last week, and their performance tonight shows a world of possibility ahead. An epic evening? It may be, and their players are celebrating accordingly. Jurgen Klopp meanwhile makes sure to congratulate United, but leaves with an extremely grim look on his face. As good as United were – and don’t take away credit – Liverpool were terrible, and the 2-1 scoreline flatters Klopp’s side significantly. Nine days is a long time in football? More like ninety minutes, considering what most people have been waiting for before launch. But now everything has turned around. Old Trafford in celebration!
The whistle goes, and United secure their first win of the season! They jump Liverpool in the table, and Old Trafford reward their new-look heroes with the standing ovation they deserve!
90 min +4: … then wins a corner down the right. This is a master class in clock management.
90 min +3: Martial takes a free kick in midfield…
90 min +2: Van de Beek pushes Fabinho over in the center circle. United do a good job of stopping Liverpool’s pace and building any pressure.
90 min +1: The first of five added minutes sees Ronaldo blaze over the bar from the edge of the Liverpool a box Then Martial fights his way past Tsimikas, but can’t cut the ball over Alisson. And finally Malacia cuts Elliott out late, and is lucky not to get into the book.
90 min: Firmino chases Salah’s pass down the inside-right. Malacia comes across, breaking into Firmino’s line and taking control, driving the ball out for a goal kick. Carvalho slams into the back of Martinez, who goes down in the gym style.
88 min: Salah and Firmino try to cause some trouble in the United box, but the ball pops out for a goal kick. Varane goes down with a brace.
87 min: The game restarts and United sit down. It looks like the rest of this game will be offense vs. defense. Liverpool ping it has little effect.
86 min: Changes today! Robertson makes way for Tsimikas, while the hosts make a triple change: Wan-Bissaka, Van de Beek and Ronaldo come on for Dalot, Eriksen and Rashford.
85 min: Salah wins a corner down the right. United fail to clear. Alexander-Arnold releases the pressure on the suddenly anxious hosts by hoiking aimlessly into the stand.
84 min: Eriksen tries to restore United’s two-goal cushion with a shot from distance. It disappears deep into the Stretford End.
83 min: There is some childish nonsense between Salah, who wants a quick restart, and Fernandes, who doesn’t. Fernandes puts the ball in his chest. They clash. Fernandes claims to have been punched in the face. The referee tells them both to grow up.
United fail to clear the corner. Elliott has a speculative strike from the edge of the box. The ball is not released again. Salah heads down the right from close range, and out of nowhere, Liverpool it’s back in it!
81 min: Alexander-Arnold crosses deep from the right. Robertson sends it back from the left. The ball clicks off Firmino and almost pops into the top left. De Gea comes across to kick for a corner. What a salvation! However…
79 min: Carvalho dribbles into the United box from the left. He is clipped lightly by Dalot but does not go down. He would have given the referee something to think about if he chose to go down.
78 min: Salah wins a corner down the right. Alexander-Arnold floats it in. Firmino heads it down, easy claim for De Gea.
77 min: Some pinball in the United box. Salah doesn’t really compete for the loose ball. Carvalho has a stroke. The ubiquitous Martinez blocks.
76 min: Rashford gets past a terribly weak Gomez challenge and slides in from the left. His shot balloons over the bar. That’s terrible of Gomez.
75 min: Alexander-Arnold rolls a pass down the inside-right channel for Salah, who tees up Firmino for a shot that is blocked. Then the flag sounds for offside. Everyone Liverpool face crumples with grief. It was such a night. It’s been that kind of season so far.
74 min: Fernandes is booked for a rather obvious dive over Robertson’s leg after a mishandling in the Liverpool a box He has the good grace not to argue, smiling wryly.
73 min: Fred’s first act is to ease Elliott off the ball, grazing it for a goal kick. Milner then leaves for Carvalho.
71 min: Fred comes for Sancho.
70 min: Van Dijk, who was terrific tonight, tries to add to his personal bests with a creamy diagonal pass down the right for Alexander-Arnold. He tries the sensation with a first-time volleyed cross. goal kick
68 min: Alisson chips the ball carelessly out for a throw near the dugouts. Klopp takes the opportunity to seize it and give his team some useful advice. He is now super livid. The Liverpool players are lucky that the journey home is short.
67 min: Salah’s dribble wins Liverpool lower right corner. Robertson hits it deep. Fabinho wins a header and sends it down to the bottom left. De Gea fails on the ball without fuss.
65 min: Salah slides Elliott into the United box down the right. Elliott throws his shot across the face of the target, then the flag goes up. Sky flashes a statistic that tells a lot about tonight’s story: United made 106 sprints to Liverpool’s 62. Klopp’s side are being lifted by their own firecracker.
63 min: Salah, who was almost invisible all evening, tries a shot from distance. It is blocked easily by the sensational Martinez. Then Firmino has an aerial shot. And then Salah flicks a simple pass to Diaz out for a goal kick. This becomes extremely embarrassing for Liverpool. A different kind of embarrassment to the one United suffered in this fixture last season, but an embarrassment nonetheless.