By 90Min
October 20, 2019

Liverpool's perfect start to the Premier League season came to an end on Sunday as they laboured to a 1-1 draw with a spirited Manchester United side at Old Trafford.

The first half was played with real pace and energy, and it was United who controversially drew first blood. Daniel James' perfect cross found Marcus Rashford in the box, and the Englishman tapped home to give his side the lead after 36 minutes, despite calls from Liverpool for a foul on Divock Origi from Victor Lindelof. 

In the second half, United sat back to defend their lead. Liverpool were forced to settle for speculative efforts from distance, whilst United came close to grabbing a second when Rashford's low drive fizzed past the post.

Liverpool looked to be heading to defeat, but substitute Adam Lallana grabbed a late equaliser when he tapped in at the back post to ensure their unbeaten start to the season continued, but only just.


MANCHESTER UNITED

Key Talking Point

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Well then, nobody saw this coming. For weeks, United have been ridiculed for their poor performances, but the Red Devils looked nothing like that side here.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's decision to switch to a back three gave United more defensive stability, and David de Gea's return to fitness helped inspire confidence. They played with desire and energy, which is exactly what fans have been crying out for all season.

They opted to sit back after the break, and understandably so. The team were resolute and organised, and it was clear just how much they wanted this win. They were unfortunate not to get it, but expect to see Solskjaer stick with this formation in the coming weeks, because this was the Red Devils' best showing of the campaign.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: De Gea (6); Wan-Bissaka (7), Maguire (7), Lindelöf (6), Rojo (7), Young (7); McTominay (7), Fred (6), Pereira (7); James (7), Rashford (8*).

Substitutes: Martial (N/A), Williams (N/A).


STAR PLAYER - Often the scapegoat for United's poor performances, Rashford looked like a man on a mission against Liverpool.

Alex Livesey/GettyImages

His energetic showing was impossible to deal with. Liverpool's defence could not keep up with Rashford, who was running down the channels and into the area with frightening ease. He was involved in absolutely everything positive for United.

Rashford deserved his goal, which came about because of his desire to run into the box. A beautiful cross from James found his run, and Rashford could hardly miss. This was the kind of performance which fans expect from him, and the applause he got when he left the field was proof that they were delighted with his effort.


LIVERPOOL

Key Talking Point

Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

In pursuit of that record-tying 18th consecutive win, Liverpool looked like they didn't really want it. They were second best for the majority of the game, only for a late Lallana goal to save the day.

With Mohamed Salah out through injury, the onus was one the rest of Liverpool's attack to step up, and they simply did not. Jordan Henderson and Fabinho both lacked the nous to create something out of nothing, but Mané and Roberto Firmino also looked off the pace.

With this lineup, Jürgen Klopp clearly favoured work ethic over creativity, and it almost cost him dearly. Introducing Lallana gave the Reds the flair which they were lacking, and they managed to get out of this one without suffering too much damage.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Alisson (6); Alexander-Arnold (6), Matip (6), Van Dijk (6), Robertson (6); Henderson (5), Fabinho (5), Wijnaldum (7*); Mané (6), Firmino (4), Origi (6).

Substitutes: Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Lallana (7), Keita (N/A).


STAR PLAYER - Liverpool's midfield was not up to scratch here, but that certainly was not the fault of Georginio Wijnaldum.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

The Dutchman was a powerful presence at the heart of the pitch, and he showcased some impressive footwork and vision to try and keep his side moving forward. He isn't supposed to be the creative force in midfield, but Wijnaldum was forced to try and step up to help his side recover.

Wijnaldum faded as the game progressed, but his energy was still clear to see. Liverpool's midfield was abysmal here, but they would have been far worse off without Wijnaldum.


Looking Ahead

United head to Serbia to face Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League, before returning to domestic action with a trip to Norwich City on Sunday.

As for Liverpool, they face a Champions League clash with Genk on Wednesday, before coming back to England to meet Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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