Sunday 15 December 2019

Welback: Van Persie is 'different class'

DANNY Welbeck hailed Manchester United strike partner Robin van Persie as "different class" after the Dutchman helped the Red Devils defeat old rivals Liverpool 2-1 at Old Trafford today.

In a match billed as a showdown between Van Persie and Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, the former Arsenal man came out on top after scoring the opener and then setting up United's second.

He put United ahead with a clinical 19th-minute finish for his 10th goal in his past 10 games before turning provider when his curling free-kick was turned in via a combination of Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic just after half-time.

Liverpool pulled a goal back almost immediately when substitute Daniel Sturridge slotted home but, despite an improved showing from the visitors, they could not find an equaliser as United provisionally moved 10 points clear at the Barclays Premier League summit.

Welbeck, who was also outstanding in the win, hailed his side's performance, and especially that of Van Persie.

He told Sky Sports 1: "Robin's different class, he produces moments in the game that others can't do. We're glad to have him on our side.

"It was a great team performance all round.

"We had our game plan set up and I think it worked quite well in the first half. In the second half they got into it at the back end of the game.

"It was a great team performance, we dug in pretty well and our character showed through at the end."

Welbeck was unable to get on the scoresheet but was a constant threat to the Liverpool backline and the England man was pleased to make the most of his chance to impress.

"I've got to work hard in the game. When I get my chance on the pitch that's when I need to show what I can do and do my best for the team. I'm not gonna give it anything less when I get on the pitch," he said.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers felt his side could have done better with the goals they conceded but took positives from the way they finished the game and thought they deserved a point.

He said on Sky Sports News: "We're disappointed with those goals but we'll take great hope from the second-half performance.

"We know the improvements we need to make if we're to sustain a challenge at the top of the table."

He added: "We get great backing here from our supporters, they were brilliant, kept rallying us in the second half and we're just disappointed for them that we couldn't get that equaliser which I though we deserved."

Rodgers also backed new signing Sturridge to be a big success for Liverpool.

The recent arrival from Chelsea scored his second goal for the Reds to get them back into the game and might have salvaged a point with a couple of late opportunities.

"I thought he was a real threat when he came on. He's an outstanding young player who just needed an opportunity. He's now got two goals in two games and he'll score many goals for Liverpool for sure," said Rodgers.

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