Manchester United 3-1 Liverpool: Anthony Martial scores on United debut
By Tom McKeown
Last Updated: 13/09/15 8:09am
Substitute Anthony Martial scored on his Manchester United debut as they beat Liverpool 3-1 to move up to second in the Premier League.
Daley Blind gave the hosts the lead shortly after the break, before Ander Herrera converted from the penalty spot after he was brought down by Joe Gomez in the box.
Christian Benteke pulled one back with a stunning strike, but Martial restored United's two-goal lead with an excellent individual goal.
David de Gea returned to the starting line-up, but it was Martial who stole the show with a dream start to his Old Trafford career, and United move up to second place, five points behind leaders Manchester City who maintained their perfect start to the season with victory over Crystal Palace earlier in the day.
Louis van Gaal handed De Gea his first start of the season, but Wayne Rooney was absent through injury and the United boss named Marouane Fellaini up front, choosing to leave new signing Martial on the bench.
Liverpool set up their stall early, keeping men behind the ball, happy to allow the hosts to keep plenty of possession.
The visitors looked nervy on the ball themselves, especially playing it out from the back, and Simon Mignolet nearly caused himself real problems as he attempted to roll the ball out, only to throw it straight against Juan Mata's leg.
Fellaini couldn't punish the goalkeeper, though, firing a first-time effort high over the bar with Mignolet still scrambling to find his position.
But it was an opening period devoid of any real chances as Liverpool held the hosts at arm's length, and Van Gaal's men struggled to attack with any real drive or purpose.
The game sparked into life right after the break, though, as substitute Ashley Young charged in from the left and won a free kick on the left-hand edge of the box. Mata's low delivery in the 49th minute was met by Blind with a superb first-time strike which flew into the corner.
Liverpool responded well to going behind, and Danny Ings almost levelled as he fired a volley into the ground, only to see De Gea turn it behind with a fine save.
Soon afterwards, Blind kept his side in front with a vital stop off the line from Martin Skrtel's header before challenging Roberto Firmino at the far post to prevent the Brazilian turning it in.
Old Trafford roared in unison with 25 minutes to go as Martial was brought on for Mata, with everyone holding high hopes for the world's most expensive teenager.
Then, in the 70th minute, United's lead was doubled as Herrera charged into the box before being brought down by Gomez, and the midfielder drilled the resulting penalty into the top corner.
Benteke looked to have made things uncomfortable with six minutes of normal time remaining, as he met Blind's looping header with a wonderful acrobatic strike to pull one back.
But two minutes later Martial made his mark, picking up Young's pass on the left and producing a mazy dribbling run to dart into the box before he coolly slotted a shot into the bottom corner to cap a dream debut.
Manchester United: De Gea (7), Darmian (6), Smalling (7), Blind (9), Shaw (8), Carrick (7), Schweinsteiger (7), Mata (7), Herrera (7), Memphis (7), Fellaini (4).
Used subs: Schneiderlin (6), Young (7), Martial (8).
Liverpool: Mignolet (4), Clyne (5), Skrtel (5), Lovren (5), Gomez (4), Lucas (3), Can (5), Milner (5), Firmino (6), Ings (6), Benteke (6).
Subs: Origi (6), Ibe (7).
Man of the match: Daley Blind