Michael Oliver blows his whistle and brings the players in for a break. What a 45 minutes that has been for United. It’s time for them to regroup now, though, after Jadon Sancho put them in front with some fleet-footed skills and a neat finish after 17 minutes. What will this showdown have in store upon the restart.
Manchester United have not been as intense since the goal, rather predictably. You sense they will need to go 2-0 up here, such is the energy they have already expended.
Liverpool do not have a deep bench but Fabinho’s introduction feels inevitable. He is a midfielder who could bring some control to their play and unlock United if they are defending a one-goal lead.
Quite understandably the early-game pace has slowed up slightly, but United are very much on top. Dias had Dalot on red alert and that intervention from him underlined the need for United to press home their advantage with a second goal. Despite them struggling so far, Liverpool can strike up danger as quick as a flash.
But the fact is United are deservedly in front and have Liverpool rattled in the opening stages. You get the sense they might have to make this advantage count, though, while there is a long way to go for the script to change.
United are doing to Liverpool what Liverpool do to teams. They are on the front foot, they are in their faces, they are unsettling them, they are penning them into a corner and they have been nigh-on relentless.
The way they salvaged the situation was absolutely superb. Eriksen didn’t fluster after he didn’t get the shot off and the run by Elanga was perfect; they were always going to target Alexander-Arnold and the goal came down his side. The finish from Sancho was exceptional; the equanimity to make a goal as easy as if it was a five-a-side game was outstanding.
pic.twitter.com/tZS9IWNgce what a goal
— 35 (@turstarsenal) August 22, 2022