English Premiership

Player ratings: Manchester United v Liverpool

2014-12-15 10:35
Robin van Persie (AFP)
Cape Town - Manchester United and Liverpool both employed 3-5-2 formations as one of the fiercest rivalries took the centre stage of English football once again.

James Wilson was a surprise inclusion in the Manchester United starting lineup while Liverpool manager dropped goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to the bench.

This particular United, Liverpool derby was marred by poor passing and a certain amount of tentative play which showed the rest of the English Premiership that both sides are still struggling to get over significant changes in personnel. Manchester United are still unable to play the quick fluid game that was the hallmark of Sir Alex Ferguson's time while Liverpool minus Luis Suarez and an injured Daniel Sturridge failed to take advantage of their numerous chances.

Raheem Sterling and then Mario Balotelli failed to beat an in-form David De Gea, who in turn was named the man of the match.

Player Ratings: Manchester United

1. David De Gea - 9.5 - Numerous saves to keep his side in front. Real Madrid bound?

2. Antonio Valencia - 7.5 - Beat Joe Allen several times and had one of his better games going forward. 

3. Ashley Young - 7 - Growing in his role as left-wing back but still vulnerable on defence. His cross led to United's second goal.

4. Phil Jones - 7 - Improved as the game wore on. Made a few crucial interceptions.

5. Michael Carrick - 8.5 - A masterful performance by Carrick as he controlled the backline for the Red Devils.

6. Jonny Evans - 4.5 - Not his best afternoon by some distance. Gave the ball away too often and almost handed Liverpool a way back with a shocking back pass only to be rescued by De Gea.

7. Juan Mata - 6.5 - Blew hot and cold again. Brilliant going forward but often caught out defensively.

8. Wayne Rooney - 8 - Deployed in a deeper midfield role, Rooney showed his class. A true team player who gives 100% every time he walks out onto the pitch.

9. Marouane Fellaini - 5 - Gave the ball away frequently and picked up an early yellow card which negated his role as enforcer somewhat.

10. James Wilson - 5 - Industrious performance without providing too much of a threat. Certainly one for the future.

11. Robin Van Persie - 6.5 - Will be delighted to have gotten onto the score-sheet but still not back to his very best. His work rate will have pleased United fans.

Substitutions:

12. Ander Herrera - 6.5 - Introduced with about 20 minutes to go and did his job, of adding some more presence in the midfield, well. 

13. Radamel Falcao - 6 - Tried his best and create a few half chances. Looks fit to the armchair critic, the Colombian poses much more of a threat that Wilson. 

14. Paddy McNair - 6 - Too little time to make an impact but McNair will be pleased to have van Gaal's trust after a shocking performance against Southampton.

Player Ratings: Liverpool

1. Brad Jones - 5 -
Surprise inclusion in the team and probably showed his nerves. Easily beaten by Rooney for the first goal.

2. Jordan Henderson -
4.5 - Woeful performance from the England international in the makeshift position of right-wing back. Missed a good chance to head Liverpool back into the game in the second half.

3. Alberto Moreno - 5
- Tried his best but made too many errors at crucial times. Almost snuck in behind Valencia but a poor touch cost him a chance.

4. Glen Johnson - 6
- Not able to make his mark on the game before limping off.

5. Martin Skrtel - 5
- Failed to stamp his authority on this fixture. Looks off the pace at the moment.

6. Dejan Lovren - 4 - 
Another poor performance from the Croatian. His outing was marked by a poor headed clearance in the build up to the third goal.

7. Steven Gerrard - 3.5 
- Missing for 90 minutes. Rodgers needs to look at Gerrard and his role objectively.

8. Joe Allen - 4
- At fault for the first goal when he was easily beaten by Valencia and never recovered.

9. Phillipe Coutinho - 6.5
- Probably the only Liverpool player to get better as the game wore on but unable to turn the tide.

10. Adam Lallana - 5
- Struggled to make an impact and withdrawn at half time.

11. Raheem Sterling - 3.5
- Failed to beat De Gea despite have many chances to do so. Woefully short of confidence in front of goal it seems.

Substitutes:

12. Kolo Toure - 6
- Probably the best Liverpool defender on the day and made some attacking runs too.

13. Mario Balotelli - 5
- Forced De Gea into a fine save but another Liverpool player unable to beat the Spaniard in goals. 

14. Lazar Markovic - 5
 - Struggled to make an impact as United counter-attacked as the game drew to a close.

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