By Imran Kardar
Anthony Martial! Remember the name because not many will be forgetting that debut goal! And what a goal that was?! Thierry Henry anyone?! We’ll get on to that later on but first let’s talk about the match itself. The game between the bitter rivals had been talked up a lot recently with both managers under pressure and both managers needing a good result. The first half was more of the slow boring stuff by United with loads of possession and nothing created in the way of chances. Though Liverpool lined up with Firmino, Ings and Benteke upfront one would have thought they would have a go at United and score goals. They hardly threatened in the first half. United were poor in the final third, moved the ball around sideways and had no tempo in their play. It wasn’t surprising that the half ended 0-0.
LVG made a change right at the start by taking off Memphis, who had an awful first half, and bringing on Young. The change proved a good one with Young providing more penetration down the left and winning a free kick right at the edge of the box. Up stepped Mata and Young to take the kick. As all the United players charged towards the Liverpool goal space was created at the edge of the box for Blind. Mata passed it straight to him and he curled one with his left boot! Goal! Manchester United 1, Liverpool 0! An absolutely beautifully worked set piece! And it showed with Blind enjoying the goal with the fans!
United kept the pressure on with Carrick playing a beautiful through ball to Herrera who went down under the challenge of the Liverpool left back and earned a penalty. Surprisingly Herrera stepped up to take it and boy did he take it blasting it in! Manchester United 2, Liverpool 0. The game went on with united keeping the ball and being too adventurous in attack. After going two goals down you could see urgency in Liverpool’s play. DDG pulled of some good saves and Blind also cleared one of the line. Was it too late for Liverpool to make a comeback? Maybe not as Benteke scored an absolute other worldly goal with a bicycle kick. DDG left rooted to the ground, he couldn’t do anything about that one! Manchester United 2, Liverpool 1.
The atmosphere in Old Trafford got a bit tense with the Benteke strike. Were Liverpool going to take points off United? No they were not! In steps Anthony Martial with a Thierry Henry like run from the left going past defenders on towards Liverpool’s goal, shifting the ball to his right foot and placing his shot towards the bottom right corner! Get in! Old Trafford erupted! Martial runs towards the corner flag to celebrate! That was the loudest cheer I’ve heard in quite a while at Old Trafford! What an introduction for the 19 years old teenager!
United got the three points on the night and Anthony Martial got his debut goal! What a debut for the young lad! Scoring against the arch enemy, that is instant stardom and adulation of the fans! It was a must win game for United as a loss or even a draw could have proven costly for LVG with the criticism he was having to deal with recently. A release for him but only temporary. United will need to put in better performances and keep on getting points to stay close to the top of the league table.