De Gea heroics allow Rooney to win Man Utd battle at Liverpool
Sam Barnard, Assistant Sports Editor | January 17, 2016
Liverpool 0-1 Manchester United
- Liverpool couldn’t capitalise on strong first-half
- De Gea heroics deny likes of Can and Firmino
- Rooney fires home after Fellaini hits bar from corner
- Man Utd move six points above Reds in table
De Gea and Rooney help Man Utd to crucial win
Just three points separated bitter rivals Manchester United and Liverpool before this Premier League battle at Anfield, but the visitors ensured that deficit doubled as they carved out a 1-0 win.
The Red Devils can largely thank their super stopper David de Gea, who stated before the clash he intends to stay at the club and become an Old Trafford legend, for keeping them in the game, after denying the likes of Emre Can and Roberto Firmino with wondersaves.
But it was captain Wayne Rooney who came up with the goods at the other end of the field with a late strike, despite his side having limited chances throughout.
Northwest derby lacked usual bite for much of match
An unusually tame start to the fixture finally sprang to life in the 10th minute, after Lucas Leiva’s brilliant ball from midfield to pick out Adam Lallana.
The England attacker could only use his head, however, with the outrushing De Gea putting him under pressure. The Spaniard palmed away, while Firmino was wide with the rebound.
Tempers soon began to flare between the two sides, with Lucas and former Everton stars Marouane Fellaini locking horns, but both avoided bookings.
Liverpool were the team who created the chances in the first half, and Firmino and Lallana combined again to put captain Jordan Henderson through on goal on the half-hour mark, but he shot just past the goal.
United gradually begin to find feet
Anthony Martial finally found the first real opportunity for the visitors just before the break, but his effort was well blocked by Mamadou Sakho.
German Can presented the first chance of the second-half, after great work from Firmino and Lallana once again, but somehow his left-footed shot was saved by the legs of De Gea.
United did show more promise after the swap of ends, and Martial came even closer to breaking the deadlock not long before an hour on the clock, but this time he struck wide of Simon Mignolet’s goal.
Henderson was handed another opportunity to fine the net, though this time he placed his effort straight into the hands of the keeper. De Gea, meanwhile, had to pull off sensational stops moments later, firstly outstretching to deny Can and then a cat-like swipe to deny Firmino.
De Gea with another double save pic.twitter.com/9CXXyhL6Xm
— Coral (@Coral) January 17, 2016
De Gea’s heroics finally pay off as Rooney scores
Man Utd’s moment finally came with just under 15 minutes to go, against the run of play, as Fellaini’s header onto the bar from a corner allowed Wayne Rooney to pounce and smash home from close range.
Liverpool kept desperately pushing for an equaliser, and had half-chances through substitutes Jordon Ibe and Christian Benteke, but instead their win-less run in the Premier League extended to three.
The Red Devils’ unlikely victory allows them to leapfrog West Ham United into fifth place, where they now sit two points behind the top four.
Check out more from our Premier League archive.