Liverpool - Wayne Rooney scored against
former club Everton while further finishes from Morgan Schneiderlin and Ander
Herrera helped Manchester United to a comfortable 3-0 victory at Goodison Park
United had won just one of their previous
seven visits to the blue half of Merseyside but Louis van Gaal's side were too
strong for a home team who were well below par on an afternoon tinged with
The news broke earlier on Saturday that
Howard Kendall, Everton's most successful - and consequently popular - manager had passed away that morning of a heart attack.
Kendall had a hugely illustrious playing
career at Goodison Park, winning the First Division title in 1970, before
assuming the managerial mantle on three separate occasions.
He delivered the Football League title
twice (1985, 1987), the FA Cup in 1984 and the European Cup Winners Cup in 1985
during a halcyon spell where Everton and near-neighbours Liverpool dominated
the English football landscape.
Kendall's passing added a sombre touch to
an occasion that Everton would have otherwise felt hugely confident of winning.
Van Gaal's side entered this match on the
back of a 3-0 defeat to Arsenal prior to the international break which had
halted their progress this term.
They had also lost their three previous
visits to this ground, all without scoring.
However, Everton had little to show for
their efforts and United punished them with former prodigy Rooney twisting the
knife in the second half.
Neither of these sides has really hit top
gear so far this season - despite their impressive Premier League placing - and
this match had a quiet opening.
Everton's Romelu Lukaku was the only man
who looked like scoring as he caused problems for Chris Smalling and Phil Jones
in United's defence while the visitors seemed extremely reluctant to test home
goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Genuinely exciting moments remained
non-existent until Schneiderlin ended the tedium and opened the scoring after
Following a corner, Steve Naismith's
clearance only fell to Marcos Rojo, whose shot deflected off Smalling and into the
path of the unmarked Schneiderlin, who calmly passed the ball past Howard from
Until that point, Everton had enjoyed more
possession but had done nothing with it and just as they started to try and
work their way back into the contest, United scored a second -- a goal that
proved to be a real killer blow.
Slack Everton defending was to blame as
Seamus Coleman clattered into Anthony Martial, which gave Rojo the space down
the left wing he needed to whip in a cross that Herrera clinically converted as
Everton's defensive line stood and watched.
After the break, Everton responded to their
deficit impressively and showed more heart but they had precious little end
De Gea did well to block a Lukaku shot and
then a Ross Barkley free-kick in quick succession, before Rooney settled the
occasion with a fine finish after 62 minutes.
He ran clean through on goal and thrashed
an effort past Howard to silence Goodison Park and confirm United's clear
superiority in a contest they had never totally dominated but then they had
never had the need to.
It was Rooney's first goal at Goodison Park
since April 2007 and he did not celebrate out of respect for his former club.
However, the huge smile on his face
underlined his pleasure at getting United back to winning ways and this
hard-fought victory will be an ideal warm-up for United's testing Champions
League contest with CSKA on Wednesday evening in Moscow.