MANITOBA, Canada — United's season was revived by a 2-1 victory over Liverpool at Old Trafford, thanks to goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford.
United manager Erik ten Hag's efforts to right a ship at a club in disarray were vindicated by the victory, despite a late consolation goal from Mohamed Salah that shook the hosts.
Some 10,000 fans gathered outside Old Trafford in the minutes before kickoff to protest the Glazer family's ownership of Manchester United.
However, once the teams were announced, it became clear that Erik ten Hag could make immediate and significant changes.
United started without Harry Maguire, who had been captain, and Cristiano Ronaldo, who had been the team's iconic centre forward since January 15.
It was only United's fourth Premier League game since Ronaldo returned from Juventus last summer, and the contrast in performance between that game and their lacklustre loss at Brentford
Perhaps it was the demonstrations that stirred the human spirit. Liverpool hoped to continue their recent dominance over United
but the presence of fans carrying pictures of Avram Glazer and chanting "Up the Glazers" may have scared them off. In any case
United's first performance under Ten Hag was a marked improvement over the team's first two games under the previous manager.
Would United's success without Ronaldo and Maguire provide the club's loyal fan base with the exciting future they've been waiting for?