Roberto Firmino
Can Roberto Firmino fill Coutinho's shoes at Old Trafford?Reuters

Manchester United, who were a better team in both the halves, deserved three points after a below par performance from Liverpool. The Reds' manager Brendan Rodgers, has a number of reasons to worry as far as his team's performance in the game were concerned. 

However, Red Devils manager, van Gaal must be mighty pleased with the performance of his players as they turned up the heat on Liverpool especially in the second half, which saw all four goals being scored - 3 by United and 1 by Liverpool. One needs to praise the United manager for his tactical change during half time, bringing on Young instead of Memphis, which seems to have been a masterstroke by the Dutchman. 

Coming into this game, both the managers were under immense pressure, but now it is Rodgers, who will be criticised for taking a defensive approach in the first half.

All things said, Manchester United's Martial goal was a major highlight along with Benteke's volley.  

That is it from me. Good night everyone.

Game over: Manchester United, who defeat Liverpool 3-1, have accumulated 10 points with this victory.

90+4 mins: Four minute of extra time and Liverpool wants to score but the fans are already singing on the stands. The writing is on the wall for Liverpool, who have not been so poor this season.

89min: One wonders how did we have a different second half? What did the respective managers say? Van Gaal words have been inpsiring, it seems, compared to Rodgers'.

86 min: Goal; What a reply by United as Martial scores a wonderful goal - almost Henry like - dribbling past with ease and sliding the ball past the goalie.

Has it come too late?

85min: Goal - Benteke with a spectacular volley. Goal of the season?

83min: Manchester United have been upto the mark as far as coping with Benteke is concerned Smalling being a beast he is at the back, has kept Liverpool players at bay. Liverpool have been surging ahead really well and de Gea comes up with a huge save to keep Ibe at bay. 

80min: Liverpool have been better in the second half, but United have been even more better than the Reds as their two goals lead suggest. Van Gaal seems to have played the masterstroke by getting in Young instead of Memphis.

75 min: Benteke, who fails to keep the ball down as he climbs high to head the ball, should have scored after that brilliant ball from Milner. Liverpool are eager to get back into the game, but their fightback seems to be too late now.

73min: Liverpool win free kick and Milner's shot is over the top. 

20 minutes left for the final whistle. United look set for three points, especially the way Liverpool have played, there is no way back for the Reds, I assume.

70min: Penalty- foul by Gomez. Herrera slots it home. 2 goal lead. Gomez gave it away with his reaction.

69 min: Small interchange of passes by Liverpool in their own half, but loose ball easily. 

Double Subs - Martial for United Ibe for LIverpool 

65min: Gomez with a through ball to Benteke after a long run and produces a corner. Blind with a goal line clearance from the corner. Firmino, who should have scored, fails to latch on to the loose ball.

62: Another free kick for United. Lovren fouls Fellani. Young hits the free kick over the bar. But Young has been brilliant so far. He has changed the course of the game.

59min: Game opening up gradually. 

57min: Finally, something from Liverppol. Ings close to his debut goal, but De Gea to the rescue with a flying save. Liverpool have upped their gear after conceding the goal. 

53min: The atmosphere has improved at Old Trafford. Danny Ings, who drives forward once again, has been the best player for Liverpool, has not been able to find any good space to take a shot or feed other players. Missing Coutinho? Yes.

51min: United asking questions to Liverpool, who are not looking comfortable in their own half. 

Young makes an immediate impact, earns a free kick in a dangerous area. Good use of speed by Young. Lovely worked out free kick - training ground stuff - by Mata, who passes it to Daley Blind, who slots it home with nice finish. The game needed that. Now the atmosphere will liven.

49 min: Goal

Second half to start - Ashley Young replaces Memphis - surprising move. Is it an injury to Memphis? 

The second half is sure to be much better than first - has to be - as a United vs Liverpool clash has always been spicier. The spices are missing -- Coutinho and Rooney. 

Van Gaal and Rodgers must be busy delivering their team talk, but what the players from both the teams really need is inspiration. It is disheartening to see the so called El-Clasico, by some experts, of the EPL failing to live upto the expectations. 

45 min: It is half time and the game has been really frustrating with Liverpool not able to keep the ball on their feet and United failing to penetrate Reds' defense. The first half, to be honest, has been really boring, as compared to the standards that have been set by Manchester United and Liverpool clashes in the past.

43 min: Once again, Manchester United attacking through the left flank with Memphis Depay, but to no avail, as the ball is cleared by Liverpool. Shaw and Memphis look good in the left flank. 

40min: Manchester United are having their fair share of chances at goal, but they have not been able to find the back of the net. Fellani should have controlled the ball by Shaw better as Reds clear it away. It was in fact meant for Herrera, not Fellani. Memphis, who is playing up front in the left flank, is having a decent game. He is one of the best candidate for his name in the score sheet.

35 min: Emre Can has been decent, drives forward and releases the ball for Benteke, who is offside. 

33 min: With a long distance, United have looked better. Liverpool players need to step up their game, else United will score sooner or later. van Gaal will be happier out of the two managers at the dugout. United seem to be hungry for win than Liverpool at present. 

30 min: Liverpool look nervous. They have not been able to keep the ball on their feet. They need to make a few passes before they move forward with confidence. 

29min: Free kick to United. Mata whips it in, but Minolet grabs the ball in thin air. 

27 min: Liverpool have been trying to feed Benteke on his chest, but Manchester United are aware of the big threat the Belgian possesses as they clear threat from the left wing. However, nothing much has happened so far in the match to mark it as a major highlight. 

24min: Manchester United has looked very comfortable on the ball as they have made another move forward, ball cleared by Liverpool defense, but Memphis has been lively in Rooney's absence. 

22min: A miss pass from Lucas allows Depay a chance at goal, gets a corner for United, which does not bear much fruit.  

20 min: Encouraging from Liverpool, as Benteke challenges in the air inside the box. Clyne with a decent cross. 

16 min: Some nice play through the midfield between Herrera and Mata, but the move breaks down as Herrera tries to play in Memphis. The ball is needlessly cleared for a corner by Nathaniel Clyne, though, even if nothing comes off it. Another corner follows soon after and Benteke finally gets into the game with a defensive header clear. 

13 min: Benteke has been a spectator so far, but Ings shows a bit of energy, even if not to much effect.

11 min: United definitely on top. Right-back Darmian's turn to get in behind, but his low cross is just about cleared away, with Fellaini unable to control the ball inside the box.

10 min: A little bit of high pressing from Liverpool, but United play well to get Memphis through on the right. Crowded out, though, and he tries to win a freekick by falling to the ground, the referee Michael Oliver, who has already given out three red cards this season, is having none of it.

9 min: Manchester United slowly getting into the groove here as Memphis sends in a nice cross, which Mignolet punches away. Remember, those crosses are going to be dangerous with that man Fellaini in the middle for Manchester United.

7 min: Oh couple of chances. All of Liverpool's own making. First Mignolet gives the ball away to Mata and Fellaini strikes hos shot high and mighty. Then Skrtel gives the ball away to Memphis, before they get enough people on cover to curb any shot.

6 min: That much-maligned Van Gaal sideways passing is on show most so far, while De Gea gets a few touches of the ball as well, just to ease his nerves, considering he is making his first start, and that too in such a big game.

5 min: All Manchester United in terms of possession. Nothing much in front of goal, though. Liverpool pretty comfortable defending, plenty of men behind the ball when out of possession.

3 min: Plenty of possession for Manchester United, no chances yet, though. Most of the attacks coming down the left, with Shaw making a bright start again.

10.01 pm: Firmino has started on the right with Ings on the left. So not two uptop for Liverpool. A 4-5-1 it looks like.

9:42: Here is a head-to-head player comparision.


9:39: However, the highlight so far - NO ROONEY - Can Liverpool take advantage or Manchester United's Depay shine?

9:35pm: Liverpool, who are also going to miss the services of Coutinho due to his West Ham red card, have opted for Ings up front. It will be interesting to note if Brendan Rodgers will play 4-4-2 or 4-3-3. However, Firmino has a huge role to play for Liverpool if they are to take three points away from Old Trafford. 

9:30pm: Romero or De Gea had been a major question and the Spaniard keeper has been thrown in the mix by Louis van Gaal after de Gea's move to Real Madrid fell through in the last minute. However, with Rooney out with an injury, the onus falls on Memphis Depay, who will be under huge pressure for such crucial game. 

9:20pm: Team News for the mega clash

Liverpool: Mignolet; Clyne, Skrtel, Lovren, Gomez; Lucas, Can, Milner; Firmino, Ings, Benteke

Sub: Bogdan, Toure, Sakho, Moreno, Origi, Rossiter, Ibe

Manchester United: De Gea; Darmian, Smalling, Blind, Shaw; Carrick, Schweinsteiger; Mata, Herrera, Memphis; Fellaini

Sub: Romero, McNair, Rojo, Schneiderlin, Valencia, Young, Martial

9:15pm IST: We are just 45 minutes from kick-off and anxious times lie ahead for both Manchester United and Liverpool fans, as their clubs have not been able to showcase what they are capable of -- some magic -- during the season. Both teams have a host number of stars in their line up and it is time for them to put their A class performance and entertain neutrals all over the world.

Hi, this is Ashim Sunam, who will bring you all the highs and lows from the hugely anticipated clash between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford.

As soon as the EPL fixtures were released, fans from both sides had earmarked 12 September on their calendar so as to not have any meetings or work related stuff, which could lead them to missing the mega clash. It is a day on the football calendar, which epitomises what EPL is all about with two of the most decorated clubs in English football squaring off in the crucial encounter.

United's clash with Liverpool has been known for high tempers and a highly entertaining brand of football and the same can be expected in a few hours time as well.

Both the teams come into this crucial fixture, after embarrassing losses. Manchester United lost to Swansea, while West Ham thumped Liverpool, which makes the game an even more interesting affair. Neither team will want to suffer a back-to-back loss, which also derails their title ambitions, if any.

So, Liverpool and United come into the match with a lot to prove, for they were heavily criticised after the loss. The best way to silence their critics is by producing some entertaining brand of football and emerge triumphant, and also bring smiles on the faces of their fans.

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