Marcus Rashford returned to the starting line-up in style as the Manchester United forward struck a match-winning brace to settle a pulsating 200th meeting with bitter rivals Liverpool.
The hotly contested race for second spot in the Premier League only added intrigue to the Saturday lunchtime duel between these traditional foes at Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho may not yet fully grasp the emotion of this fixture but Rashford certainly does, with the academy graduate inspiring his hometown team to a 2-1 win as Eric Bailly’s own goal brought a nervy ending rather than a Liverpool comeback.
Canât Van Dijk go for the challenges in the air against Lukaku?— John Arne Riise (@JARiiseOfficial) March 10, 2018
Former Liverpool defender John Arne Riise speaking for all Reds fans who watched the first half and wondered what on earth Dejan Lovren was doing up against Manchester United’s big front man.
Marcus Rashford. The 20-year-old marked his first Premier League start since Boxing Day with a brilliant performance. He gave fellow youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold a torrid time in the first half and exploited the gap between the full-back and centre-half Lovren, taking his first goal expertly and adding a second with an instinctive finish.
Rashford’s check back inside onto his right foot to tee up a curling shot past Loris Karius for the opening goal.
Manchester United have scored the opening goal 352 times in Premier League games at Old Trafford. They have only lost three of those. They have never lost when leading at half-time.
David de Gea 7/10, Antonio Valencia 7, Eric Bailly 6, Chris Smalling 7, Ashley Young 7, Nemanja Matic 7, Scott McTominay 7, Juan Mata 7, Alexis Sanchez 4, Marcus Rashford 8, Romelu Lukaku 6. Substitutes: Marouane Fellaini (for Rashford, 70) 6, Jesse Lingard (for Mata, 88) 6, Matteo Darmian (for Sanchez, 90) 6.
Loris Karius 6, Trent Alexander-Arnold 4, Virgil van Dijk 6, Dejan Lovren 4, Andrew Robertson 6, James Milner 5, Emre Can 6, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Mohamed Salah 5, Roberto Firmino 5, Sadio Mane 7. Substitutes: Adam Lallana (for Oxlade-Chamberlain, 62) 6, Georginio Wijnaldum (for Alexander-Arnold, 80) 6, Dominic Solanke (for Robertson, 84) 5.
Manchester United v Sevilla (Champions League, Tuesday March 13)
Liverpool v Watford (Premier League, Saturday, March 17)