Thriller at the Theatre of Dreams

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It is challenging to to write an unbiased report about the historic rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool. Neutrals will inevitably pick a side, both clubs are loathed and loved across the world.

Two big clubs, one heated rivalry. One is in the running to win the premier league for the first time and the other has fallen from grace. Never has there been such a large gap between the two since the premier league started. United are two points from relegation and Liverpool are leading the table on an unbeaten streak.

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Going into the match Manchester United changed their formation, having Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ashley Young start as wingbacks. Defender Axel Tuanzebe suffered an injury during the warm-up, therefore meaning Marcos Rojo started in his place.

The only major change for Liverpool was the return of their goalkeeper Alisson, and the loss of their super striker Mo Salah due to an injury he suffered against Leicester a couple of weeks ago. To replace Salah, Divock Origi made a rare start on the wing, rather than starting on the bench as he has his last few games.

United started with a surprising amount of energy and creativity that has been absent arguably since Solskjaer took over as manager. Whilst still lacking ability in the final third, they looked in control of the game. Liverpool’s first major chance came from Sadio Mane after he broke down the right hand side and squared it to Firmino, yet the striker failed to get enough power on the ball and was comfortably saved by De Gea.
Marcus Rashford scored the first goal of the game thanks to a clever ball inside by the box Daniel James. However, there was more VAR drama as the Liverpool manager and fans claimed there was a foul on Origi by United defender Victor Lindelof in the build-up to the goal. This drama was made even worse when moments later Mane’s goal was disallowed by VAR due to a handball.

United may have dominated the first half, however a change of Liverpool’s tactics in the second half gave them the edge. It was clear that an equaliser was brewing. Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana were brought on in the second half and this seemed to spur life into the Liverpool side. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s shot was inches away from goal just before Lallana scored in the final five minutes thanks to a cross by Robertson, meaning Liverpool are still undefeated in their 2019/2020 Premier League campaign.
United can certainly take away many positives from the game. Pereira proved himself in the number 10 position and Rashford stepped up as United’s dominant goalscorer and regained some of his confidence. Liverpool will be left with a sour taste in their mouths, feeling robbed by VAR and only proving themselves in the final twenty minutes.