Ratings: Blinder from Daley, Firmino flops

Date published: Saturday 12th September 2015 8:38

Roberto Firmino Daley Blind Manchester United v Liverpool TEAMtalk

Manchester United and Liverpool: Both had a high turnover of players in summer

Daley Blind impresses again as TEAMtalk rates and slates the performances during Manchester United’s 3-1 win over Liverpool at Old Trafford.

Manchester United

David de Gea: Welcomed back like a returning son by the Old Trafford crowd and is unlikely to have many more comfortable games all season. One moment of rustiness almost cost United in the second half, but two fine saves – routine for the Spaniard – showed United what they have been missing. 6

Matteo Darmian: As steady as he has been since he arrived in the summer. Looks like a Premier League veteran already. Was the source of United’s only attacking moment of note in the first half. 7

Chris Smalling: Shackled Benteke with relative ease, though Liverpool’s poor service into their front man made for an easy afternoon. Did well to avoid scoring an own goal when digging out a low delivery across goal in the second half. 8

Daley Blind: Van Gaal deserves credit for identifying the Dutchman as a starting centre-half. Many felt Blind lacked the physical qualities to play in the heart of defence but his positional intelligence and timing in the tackle has helped develop a solid partnership with Smalling in the United rearguard. Blind’s composure and eye for a pass have never been doubted, but few saw him becoming the leader of Van Gaal’s back four. Scored a fine opener by applying a sublime finish to a well-worked set-piece routine. 9

Luke Shaw: Continued to make last season’s critics choke on their words with another display full of attacking intent and intelligent defending. United’s most promising outlet in the first half, even if he failed to get behind the visitors’ defence, and showed he won’t be bullied by the likes of Benteke when the burly Liverpool striker tried to pull on to the full-back. 7

Michael Carrick: Despite the arrival of Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin, Carrick remains United’s best passer from deep. The skipper is being used as sparingly as possible by Van Gaal due to a series of injuries over last year but his importance was again evident. 7

Bastian Schweinsteiger: Settling into life at Old Trafford after a steady start and took the fight to Milner, Can and Lucas. Fears have been expressed over his long-term fitness, but the Germany World Cup winner looks in fine fettle. Not quite yet the driving force from deep that he can be and should have done better when the ball landed at his feet in the second half but getting into good areas. 6

Ander Herrera: Struggled to find space between the Liverpool lines, but won the penalty which led to United’s second goal. Yet to convince in the No.10 role. 6

Juan Mata: On the periphery for most of the evening before being substituted in the second half for goalscorer Martial. 5

Marouane Fellaini: Shackled by Liverpool’s centre-backs and when his aerial threat is eliminated, Fellaini offers very little as an alternative. United’s service into the frontman when they went more direct was often poor, but Fellaini is too slow to lead the line as a starter. 5

Memphis Depay: Withdrawn for Young after a frustrating afternoon. Shaw’s constant overlapping forces Depay inside very often, which makes it easier for quality defender to nullify the threat he offers individually. 5

Subs:

Ashley Young: Added immediate impetus when he replaced Depay at half-time and won the free-kick that led to the opening goal with the first real injection of pace and trickery. Did well to see the game out after turning his right ankle. 7

Morgan Schneiderlin: Replaced Carrick with 18 minutes remaining and offered another layer of protection in front of the centre-halves, allowing Schweinsteiger to roam in the later stages. 6

Anthony Martial: Barely touched the ball before he lit up Old Trafford with a stunning debut goal. Encouraging bravery from the world’s most expensive teenager to drive at the defence just after Liverpool had got back into the game through Benteke’s goal, and a fine finish when facing down Mignolet. 8

Liverpool

Simon Mignolet: Stood no chance with any of the goals and otherwise rarely tested. One calamitous moment almost gifted United an opener when his roll out was intercepted by Mata before Fellaini ballooned the ball over the bar. 6

Nathaniel Clyne: Solid at the back and coped well with the double threat of Depay and Shaw in the first half but failed to get forward. Or rather, was instructed not to. 6

Martin Skrtel: Handled Fellaini with ease but beaten far too easily by Martial when the United new boy waltzed through to score the third goal. 6

Dejan Lovren: Recovered from a miserable afternoon last time out against West Ham with a competent display. Not stretched by United in the first half and still looks shaky on the ball. 6

Joe Gomez: Generally defended well but one lapse in concentration saw the youngster dive in on Herrera to gift United a penalty. Will learn from his mistake. 6

Lucas Leiva: Nullified Herrera’s threat in the first half but too often overrun. 5

James Milner: As industrious as ever but lost the midfield battle before being booked for a rash tackle as frustrations grew. 5

Emre Can: At least tried to venture into United territory in the first period while his team-mates refused to cross the halfway line. Almost anonymous in the second half. 5

Roberto Firmino: Contributed almost nothing, other to waste a glorious chance at the far post after Blind had cleared off the United line in the second half. 4

Danny Ings: Played on the left side and struggled to get anywhere near Benteke. Got into one very promising position in the second half, but volleyed into the ground and gave De Gea the chance top make a comfortable save. 5

Christian Benteke: Shackled too easily by Smalling and failed to impose himself on Blind. However, showed how deadly he can be with a stunning bicycle kick to give Liverpool brief hope. Rodgers has to find a way of getting him the ball in positions other than facing his own goal. 6

Subs: 

Alberto Moreno: Late introduction but still managed to sneak in an embarrassing mis-kick in the United box. 5

Divock Origi: Did he really come on? 4

Jordon Ibe: Liverpool’s only natural winger but given little opportunity to run at Shaw after coming on for Firmino. 6

 

 

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