Sunday 18 February 2018

United banish talk of unrest

Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool

Anthony Martial of Manchester United slots one past Simon Mignolet on his debut
Anthony Martial of Manchester United slots one past Simon Mignolet on his debut
Manchester United's Louis van Gaal greets Brendan Rodgers ahead of the match
Manchester United's Anthony Martial comes on as a substitute for Juan Mata
Manchester United's David de Gea celebrates at the final whistle

Paul Hirst

Anthony Martial wasted no time writing himself into Manchester United folklore as he stepped off the bench to score a stunning goal on his debut against Liverpool.

Twenty-one minutes after his introduction, the £58m deadline-day signing turned Martin Skrtel twice before rolling the ball past Simon Mignolet to wrap the game up for Louis van Gaal's side and move them second in the league behind their Manchester neighbours.

Christian Benteke had found the net with an acrobatic and arguably superior goal moments earlier, but Martial will grab the headlines after his maiden strike.

Much has been made of the record fee United paid Monaco for the 19-year-old forward, but he could not have made a better start to his United career.

This will not go down as one of the classic encounters in this world-renowned fixture, but Van Gaal will not care. After a week dominated by reports of dressing-room unrest and criticism of his transfer policy, the United manager will be ecstatic at having recording a third straight win over the club's most bitter rivals.

United, who recalled goalkeeper David de Gea, lacked a cutting edge in the first half, but Ashley Young's introduction changed the game. He won the free-kick which Daley Blind stroked home, and Ander Herrera rifled in a penalty before Benteke and Martial struck with two stunners.

Van Gaal was all smiles, but his opposite number Brendan Rodgers was taunted with chants of "you're getting sacked in the morning" as he walked off the pitch after his second straight defeat.

United - not that it needed it - added to the theatre of the occasion before the match by reading De Gea's name out last from the team-sheet last, which led to a huge round of applause.

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