Premier League

16 conclusions as Manchester United show up on the big night against Liverpool

Manchester United attack against Liverpool

Manchester United started their evening with protest, but ended it with their helds held high for the first time in a very long time.


1. When was the last time a club started a match on quite such a low, but found quite such a high so quickly? Before kick-off at Old Trafford for one of their biggest games of the season, Manchester United seemed on the brink of some sort of meltdown. But by the time the full-time whistle blew the atmosphere inside Old Trafford couldn’t have been more different, a raucous celebration of a win of the utmost practical and symbolic importance.


2. There were protests against the Glazers outside Old Trafford prior to the start of the match, with aerial shots outside Old Trafford about forty minutes before kick-off indicating that thousands had joined the march organised by protest group The 1958. But any hopes that protests might #EmptyOldTrafford seemed to fall somewhat on deaf ears. When Casemiro took to the pitch before the match to be introduced to the crowd, he was met with a mixture of polite applause and anti-Glazer songs.

And these aerial shots contrasted sharply with footage shared on social media of a number of United supporters throwing bottles at a coach which they presumably expected to have Liverpool supporters in it but which actually turned out to be full of United-supporting schoolchildren instead. It should go without saying that they shouldn’t be lobbing bottles at anyone, but it’s not a strong look for anyone at the club, fans included, that something like this should have happened.

Liverpool supporters, for their part, turned up singing ‘Glazers In’ and wearing masks of the United owners.


3. Both managers made changes following disappointing starts to the season. Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo could exchange ribald bantz on the bench as they were both dropped, along with Luke Shaw and Fred. Both the replacement of Maguire and Ronaldo were stories in themselves; Maguire as the club captain, and Ronaldo within the context of everything that has been going on with him over the course of the summer.

Manchester United’s re-jigged defence of Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and Tyrell Malacia contained no-one who started in their 5-0 home defeat in the corresponding match last season. Scott McTominay and Anthony Elanga were the other players brought in, with Elanga taking the place in a front three with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.

After a strangely sluggish start in…

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