He's hasn't had the greatest of seasons, yes, but Wayne Rooney is doing as much as any other Manchester United player to salvage something from an often frustrating season. 


The United captain struck a rare goal at Anfield - getting on the scoresheet for the fourth game running - to down Jurgen Klopp's Reds, clinching a crucial three points for his team and his manager. 


United often veered between mediocrity and being utterly bereft of ideas, but after riding a mini-Liverpool storm, they emerged triumphant and moved to within two points of the top four. For Klopp however, this was his fifth defeat in 14 Premier Leagues and with the club barely in the top half of the table, the post-mortem will be grim. ​


There were signs of the defensive deficiencies that cost United three points against Newcastle when Lucas managed to find Adam Lallana running in behind, who wasn't able to direct his header past an advancing David de Gea. However, with the United back-line in no man's land, Firmino latched on to the loose ball and guided his effort just wide. 


The creative, robust attacking force of United in midweek had floundered as Liverpool found themselves on top. The visitors' defence looked disheveled when their hosts had possession - and Henderson almost took advantage when he latched on to Firmino's inventive flick, droving a right-footed effort inches wide of the post with de Gea flat-footed. 


United however, were offering nothing. It was Klopp's men who were looking baleful against their opponents' quivering, directionless defence. 


Following a meandering first half, it was more of the same from Liverpool and Can came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in fine fashion when he breezed past Smalling and forced a fortunate save from De Gea, firing a shot that ricocheted off the Spaniard's thigh and away for a corner. 


Nine times out of ten, a shot of that nature would go through a keeper's legs bottom corner, but the footballing gods smiled on the United stopper and not the German midfielder. 

It took United almost an hour to emerge from the shadows and feature prominently as an attacking entity in the game, unsurprisingly through the excellent Anthony Martial. The Frenchman is noted for his fleeting footwork and ability to burst past defenders in an instant and he did so, skipping past Moreno and Sakho before zipping a shot beyond the far post. 


Then, a minute later, he was claiming a penalty after being felled by Sakho. Mark Clattenburg didn't listen to the appeals. He was right, it wasn't a penalty, but United were finally beginning to exert an authority and enthusiasm that had been sorely lacking in the first half. 

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League

Rather interestingly, Klopp seemed to be irate on the touchline at times, especially after Henderson fired another meagre shot straight at de Gea. The German could be seen incandescently remonstrating towards his captain, who should have placed it better under no pressure. 


Can however, forced a wonderful save from the Spaniard after his swerving 25-yard drive. With the danger still looming, De Gea sprung back up and clawed away Firmino's cross back in. 


However, for all of Liverpool's attacks and sequences of neat passing, it was Wayne Rooney wheeling away in celebration after expertly firing past Simon Mignolet. United took a corner short, with substitute Juan Mata delivering a pinpoint cross to Fellaini. After the Belgian's header rebounded back off the bar, Rooney followed in with an excellent volley to take the lead and silence the Kop. 

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