Liverpool 0:1 Manchester United

Wayne Rooney netted Manchester United’s 100th Reds goal against Liverpool at Anfield as Louis van Gaal’s men claimed a famous late victory over the Merseysiders.

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The United captain struck with 12 minutes left when he smashed home from close range after Marouane Fellaini’s header had come back off the bar. It’s fair to say the hosts dominated much of the 90 minutes, but the Reds grew into the game after half-time before Rooney struck the killer blow, although it must be said that David De Gea was once again outstanding.

Louis van Gaal kept faith with the starting XI that played out a 3-3 draw against Newcastle United four days earlier, with the only change to the matchday squad being Guillermo Varela replacing James Weir on the bench.

United had won two of the last three league meetings at Anfield, including last season’s Juan Mata-inspired victory, while van Gaal had enjoyed three league wins from three against the Merseysiders since his arrival. Both sides came into the match in mixed form and it seemed strange for a United/Liverpool game equating to a match between sixth and ninth in the table.

It was the hosts who had the first sight of goal on 10 minutes, following a cagey opening. A ball over the top from Lucas found Adam Lallana, who tried his luck with a header as De Gea sprinted from goal. The Spaniard got a strong hand to the effort and was relieved to see Roberto Firmino drag a follow-up shot wide with the goal gaping. James Milner blasted over soon after, while tensions were raised between the sides after Fellaini and Lucas clashed twice in quick succession.

The Reds were quiet as an attacking force with Liverpool enjoying the best of the few opportunities in the first period. Captain Jordan Henderson had one of those on the half-hour mark but his cross-shot, after being flicked in by Firmino, flew wide. Firmino found himself through on goal with half-time approaching as Liverpool broke from a United corner, but Anthony Martial got back brilliantly to take the ball off his toe.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson replaced the injured Ashley Young just before the break as Liverpool finished the half on top.

The second period began as the first finished with Jurgen Klopp’s men dominating and five minutes in Emre Can almost broke the deadlock after powering past Chris Smalling but, thankfully, De Gea saved with his legs.

At the other end, Martial had United’s best chance of the game so far on 56 minutes after the Reds worked the ball well. Borthwick-Jackson’s cross eventually dropped to the French striker, who dragged a shot just wide of Simon Mignolet’s left-hand post. The chance sparked encouragement in the away end, which featured the watching Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Marcos Rojo, as the Reds gradually worked their way into the match.

De Gea still needed to be alert at the other end and soon after last season’s Anfield hero Mata had replaced Jesse Lingard, the Spanish stopper pulled off a brilliant double save from Can and Firmino.

Memphis Depay’s arrival, in place of Ander Herrera, prompted a tactical reshuffle as Martial went up front with Rooney switching to the no.10 role, and Memphis and Mata flanking them down each side.

After playing such a key role in this fixture last season, Mata turned provider this time as the Reds looked to stage a smash and grab. His cross from a short corner landed on Fellaini’s head and after the ball smacked against the bar Rooney was there to blast home into the roof of the net. It was the striker’s fifth goal in four games and it also meant Rooney has now scored more goals in the Premier League for one club than anyone else, edging ahead of Thierry Henry to 176.

The Reds survived a couple of scares late on, but held out for another important victory with none sweeter than against our great rivals.

Nothing sweeter than a victory at Anfield!

Glory MUFC!

Cheers

Ss

Posted from my iMac

Manchester United 2:1 Swansea City

Wayne Rooney scored a second-half winner as Manchester United got 2016 off to the perfect start by defeating Swansea at Old Trafford.

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The Reds’ winless run had looked in danger of being extended to nine games after Gylfi Sigurdsson cancelled out Anthony Martial’s opener.

But with just over 10 minutes remaining, Rooney flicked home Martial’s cross to net his 238th goal for United, moving him above Denis Law into second place in the club’s all-time highest scorers list.

Though there was only one change to the side that drew with Chelsea on Monday – Phil Jones replacing Matteo Darmian – the Reds began the new year in a different system, with Jones joining Chris Smalling and Daley Blind in a three-man defence flanked by wing-backs Young and Martial.

United had lost three consecutive games to Swansea by a 2-1 scoreline but quickly set about trying to end that streak and, within a minute, Ander Herrera had a shot blocked inside the box after an incisive one-two with Juan Mata.

It was another bright and breezy start from Louis van Gaal’s men but the next real chance did not arrive until the 21st minute, when Young’s cross found Rooney on the far side of the box but the captain could only fire into the side-netting. At the other end, it was half-an-hour before David De Gea was tested as he comfortably clutched Wayne Routledge’s drive.

A sharp piece of thinking almost resulted in Mata putting United ahead as Herrera played a quick free-kick on the edge of the box forward to the Spaniard, whose initial shot was blocked by Neil Taylor before his second weaker effort was saved by Swans goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Fabianski was called upon twice more before the break, firstly clinging onto a Mata shot after Young had beaten Leon Britton to reach the byline and pick out the United no.8, before saving a Rooney header from another Young cross.

Van Gaal brought on Darmian in place of Jones at the start of the second half and, almost instantly, Rooney had a left-footed shot blocked by Ashley Williams. But it wasn’t long before the Reds took the lead as Young crossed from the right to find Martial and the Frenchman headed emphatically past Fabianski.

Swansea looked for a swift reply and, after Gylfi Sigurdsson broke down the right channel, Darmian did well to recover and block his shot, with De Gea collecting the loose ball.

As the game began to open up, Young was a real threat down the right and twice came close to creating further chances with dangerous deliveries that were headed away by the visitors.

But Swansea had now come out of their shells and Andre Ayew came within a whisker of equalising when he headed against the post, with De Gea beaten. Angel Rangel picked up the loose ball and went down under Darmian’s challenge but was booked for diving.

That chance encouraged the visitors and, with 20 minutes left, they equalised through Sigurdsson, who sent a looping header from substitute Modou Barrow’s cross beyond De Gea’s despairing dive.

Old Trafford was stunned but United were not deterred and immediately pushed for a winner, which duly arrived in the 77th minute when Martial beat Federico Fernandez on the left and crossed for Rooney to flick home, cueing joyous celebrations in the Stretford End. The goal made Rooney the second-highest Premier League scorer of all time, ahead of ex-Reds striker Andy Cole but behind Newcastle legend Alan Shearer.

Back came Swansea and Barrow had a shot well saved by De Gea as the game entered the final 10 minutes. In stoppage-time, Michael Carrick replaced Herrera to make his 400th appearance but United then survived two huge scares at the death. Firstly, De Gea made a superb flying save from Williams’s shot, before Swansea sent Fabianski forward for a corner and the goalkeeper headed inches wide.

The Reds survived and claimed the points – let’s hope there will be plenty more this year.

Glory Glory Man United

Happy New Year!

Ss