Schweinsteiger’s best game; Blind terrific; back four top notch; and what a debut for Martial?
Forget the first half. Liverpool parked the bus and arrived without invention or aggression, maybe because Coutinho and Henderson were missing? We watched a game marooned in the middle third and no one from United ran at Liverpool except Shaw. No frontline penetration, pace, or goals. A yawn fest.
So let’s concentrate on the second half. If Memphis/DePay has pace or confidence he hasn’t shown it yet. I know I sound like a broken record but I’m beginning to wonder if he has it at this level. Louis Van Gaal has a major decision to make. Maybe Van Gaal gave it the old Busby and Ferguson “just go out there and express yourselves” at half time, but we all saw the immediate impact when Ashley Young replaced Memphis/Depay. Blind’s perfectly executed training ground free kick and Herrera’s “take that” penalty and United fans were a heck of a lot happier.
De Gea did his thing saving good efforts from Ings and Ibe, and even though Benteke’s brilliant overhead kick made for a few anxious moments United were much, much better.
The icing on the cake was of course Anthony Martial’s debut goal. Kudos to the Twitter psychic who predicted it.
The early word on Martial was that he loves to drift left, cut in onto his right foot and drive at the heart of the defence. Job done, and a classic “allez vous faire foutre” (go fuck yourself) to the Daily Mirror and the “What A Waste of Money” chorus.
But let’s not get carried away. One brilliant goal doesn’t make a career. Remember Federico Macheda? Well he’s currently playing for Cardiff and is out for 10 weeks following back surgery.
All in all a very good day for Van Gaal. He can celebrate at Wings sitting in second place before focusing on Tuesday’s Champions League game at PSV. Rooney is expected to be out again so there are questions about the forward line. My bet is Fellaini starts again and I hope Young does too.