So often these games turn out to be overwhelmingly disappointing, either because of a stalemate or a poor decision ruining the occasion.
This game did not have a refereeing howler, but the first half particularly was a dire 45 minutes of scruffy and poor quality football. As Fellaini stumbled around up front for United, the game lacked the attacking fluidity that you would expect from two sides with aspirations for trophies.
Louis van Gaal’s team may have worked to a victory, but their overall performances continue to leave a lot to be desired and the much mentioned ‘philosophy’ is nowhere to be seen. Fortunately, the second half at least provided shots and some more aesthetically pleasing football. The flurry of goals in the second half brought excitement to the game and we ended with a match unrecognisable from the first half.
The icing on the cake was the magical volley from Christian Benteke and, of course, Martial’s debut goal.
Here are three things we learned:
The Dutch youngster might have the credentials to be the next Ronaldo, but he hasn’t exactly taken to English football easily. The time to adapt is expected, but United’s lack of attacking additions this summer mean the pressure on him is higher than they would have liked.
The first half was a very English half of football. There was a lot of head down running, a lot of grit, hard work and ‘passion, but the quality was far short and neither side looked deserving of even being in the top half. Luckily, the game had quite a drastic change in the second half but the first period cannot be forgotten by either manager.
Despite Liverpool’s failure to score until his wonder strike, Benteke showed glimpses of the skills that earned his big money move from Aston Villa. The powerful Belgian demonstrated to his compatriot, Marouane Fellaini, what a real striker looks like and threatened with both his back to goal and running beyond.