Man United protests turned to celebrations following Liverpool victory

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Man United protests turned to celebrations following Liverpool victory
Man United protests turned to celebrations following Liverpool victory
Man United protests turned to celebrations following Liverpool victory
Reuters
Protests turned to celebrations at Old Trafford on Monday as Manchester United came back from the dead to beat old rivals Liverpool - leapfrogging them in the table and giving their new manager Erik ten Hag his first competitive win amid big protests against the ownership of the football club.

With that backdrop, United were firing, running further and quicker than they have so far this season. This spirit got the crowd on their feet and they were rampant in the first half, taking the lead through Jadon Sancho. They did have to weather the storm in the second half as Liverpool pushed forward, but good defensive displays from the reinstalled Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez saw them home in the 2-1 win.

For Liverpool and manager Jurgen Klopp, missing players saw them looking very light in this game but the tactics - the usual 4-3-3 - seemed to play into United’s hands. Throughout, they never had control in midfield. James Milner, now 37, seemed half-a-step off the pace and they didn’t capitalise on the weaknesses that United have shown so far in this campaign.

Playing methodical football allowed the hosts to defend deep and attack on the counter behind the always advancing Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson. Both goals came down the Liverpool right and it was plain to see a weakness there. Not only that, but their lack of height in the attack was plain to see as Martinez was not put under pressure like he had been against both Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford.

The Reds are now winless in three games and Klopp will have to go back to the drawing board ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Bournemouth with concerned thoughts.

Ten Hag has now challenged to “bring it” again when they visit Southampton and that will be the real test to see whether they have turned a corner or the Liverpool winner was a fluke.

Liverpool were not the only big team to slip up this weekend. Manchester City dropped points away to the impressive Newcastle United, where a partisan atmosphere at St James’ Park gave a great soundtrack to a 3-3 draw on Sunday. Newcastle were 3-1 up after Kieran Trippier nailed a free kick to lift the roof of the Newcastle ground, but City showed their spirit, pulling the game back through goals from Erling Haaland and Bernardo Silva.

Their fightback showed the difference between them and Liverpool. Whilst Liverpool were unable to get back into the game against United, City could cut their losses and escape the north-east with a point. All of these little ‘victories’ will add up as the season goes on and Pep Guardiola would have been happy to see that fight from his side.

But the biggest concern for a top side came at Elland Road. Leeds United ran riot against Chelsea, beating the Blues 3-0 - a victory they were full value for. For Chelsea manager, Thomas Tuchel, the way his side capitulated against Leeds would have been a scary thing to see given the investment put into the side over the summer.

What is already showing in the Premier League in the first three weeks is that the pack behind the big sides have closed up, giving each of the better sides a game every week. With this split season in front of us, it is already feeling like one of those topsy-turvy seasons akin to the 2015-16 year where Leicester City won the title.

The caveat for this claim is that we are just three games in, but already we are seeing some unpredictable results that show, as ever, how great the Premier League is - the most entertaining league in the world.

GOAL OF THE WEEK: It’s already been mentioned, but Kieran Trippier’s free-kick was the moment of the weekend. The noise it created as it hit the net from 23 metres, the roar of the crowd it created, the hope it brings to a club on the up is something that the Premier League needs. A good Newcastle side is something we can all enjoy, despite the sports washing it is certainly creating for the Saudi owners.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: It would be rude not to mention Arsenal, who are the only side to still have a perfect record in the Premier League. At the heart of everything good in their 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday night was the Norwegian Martin Odegaard. He was given the captain’s armband before the season started and he is already showing what a shrewd move that was by Mikel Arteta.

He was faultless, pulling the strings in midfield and scoring a goal along the way. Rumour has it that he has captained himself in his Fantasy Premier League team. If that doesn’t show how confident he is feeling in an Arsenal team on the rise, then nothing will. He has been in the global spotlight since signing for Real Madrid as a 16-year-old, but it feels that he has finally found his home with Arsenal.