Martial on target as United cruise past Liverpool

Date published: Saturday 12th September 2015 7:36

Anthony Martial scored on his debut as Manchester United climbed into second place after a 3-1 Premier League win over Liverpool at Old Trafford on Saturday night.

Martial, a £36million recruit from Monaco, replaced Juan Mata on 65 minutes and wrapped the game up for the hosts after weaving his way into the box and firing low under Simon Mignolet.

After a tepid first half, which saw neither side create any real chances, United stepped up the ante after the break and it was a training ground move which saw them break the deadlock against a disappointing Liverpool.

Blind smashed home a well-worked free-kick on 49 minutes before Ander Herrera scored from the spot with 20 minutes to go after he was fouled in the box by Joe Gomez.

Christian Benteke hit a fabulous consolation with an acrobatic bicycle kick, before Martial capped a fine debut with a brilliant solo goal late on.

Matteo Darmian: Battles with Danny Ings

Matteo Darmian: Battles with Danny Ings

This will not go down as one of the classic encounters in this world-renowned fixture, but Louis van Gaal will not care.

Van Gaal was all smiles, but his opposite number Brendan Rodgers was taunted with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” as he walked off the pitch after his second straight defeat.

United added to the theatre of the occasion before the match by reading David de Gea’s name out last from the team-sheet last, which led to a huge round of applause, after the keeper penned a new deal at Old Trafford this week.

There was little to applaud thereafter, however, as Old Trafford played host to one of the dullest halves in recent memory.

With Marouane Fellaini up front instead of the injured Wayne Rooney, United looked toothless.

Hopes were raised when Simon Mignolet’s poor clearance deflected off Juan Mata into Fellaini’s path, but he shot high and wide. The Belgian wasted another two chances before half-time.

Van Gaal had seen enough. He brought Young on for Memphis Depay and the winger made an immediate impact, drawing a foul from Nathaniel Clyne on the edge of the box.

Mata squared the ball to the unmarked Blind and he curled a sublime finish into the corner.

De Gea endured a wobbly moment soon after when his clearance went straight to the opposition. The Reds moved it out wide to Clyne, whose cross was cleared off the line by Chris Smalling.

The Spaniard redeemed himself with a fine save from Danny Ings. The former Burnley man then nudged the resultant corner towards goal, but Blind cleared off the line.

Just as Liverpool looked to be coming back into the game, they gifted United a second when Joe Gomez fouled Herrera in the box. With regular penalty-taker Mata having been taken off for Martial, Herrera stepped up and he did not disappoint, banging a rising shot into the roof of the net to make it 2-0.

De Gea denied Jordon Ibe six minutes from time, but he could do nothing about Benteke’s stunning overhead kick soon after.

Martial extinguished any hopes of a comeback, though, when he cut in from the left and beat Mignolet after a mazy run into the box.

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