Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League table this evening with a first league win against Manchester United in five years, thanks to a sublime goal from Sadio Mane and a double from substitute Xherdan Shaqiri.
The pace of the game was frantic from the get-go, with Liverpool applying early pressure to a very defensively minded United side; although Mourinho’s side did have a goal rightly disallowed for offside in the opening minutes.
The deadlock was finally broken after Fabinho, who put in a sensational performance alongside Wijnaldum in midfield, lifted the ball over the top of the United defence for Mane to chest it down and slot it under De Gea and send the majority of Anfield into a frenzy.
It was more than a deserved lead for Liverpool, who’d looked completely comfortable.
However, from seemingly nothing, Alisson spilled a poor cross from Lukaku into the path of Lingard, who couldn’t miss; for all of Alisson’s heroics on Tuesday, he’d produced the error which gave United an undeserved equaliser heading into half-time.
There was a disappointing loss of momentum after the break, with the Reds mainly reduced to longshots from outside the area after Mourinho decided to essentially put 10 men behind the ball in an attempt to salvage a fortuitous point.
However, that all changed when Klopp brought on Shaqiri for Keita with around 35 minutes still to play — the Swiss star’s shot took a deflection off Ashley Young, then the underside of the bar before settling in the net to give Liverpool a much needed 2-1 lead.
A close to carbon copy of that goal happened only minutes later as another deflected Shaqiri shot gave Liverpool a 2 goal cushion and with only approximately 10 minutes still to play, there was little chance of United getting back into the game.
It was an excellent performance against a United side which has been something of a bogey side in recent times — special mentions must go to Fabinho, who showed all the characteristics of a world class holding midfielder, Sadio Mane and Nathaniel Clyne, who put in an understated, but solid performance in his first league game of the season and only third in seventeen months.
Now a point above Manchester City, Liverpool must take every game as it comes. It does have the makings of a special season though…