In one of the most awaited matches of the season, neither of sides were able to break the deadlock!
Manchester United vs Liverpool is quite rightly the most watched-out game in the Premier League. Perhaps, more than the Manchester Derby too. Two of the most successful sides in the history of English football. They have a total of 38 League titles between them. It's never just a game when it’s Manchester United vs Liverpool. It's much much more than that. A certain amount of pride is always there for the taking. And this was no different. The game was perfectly poised in the context of the title. And a lot relied on this match.
A Liverpool win could put them in the driving seat with a 3-point lead over Manchester City. With 11 games still to come, it’s important that you do not allow any slip-ups. And who better than both of these sides know how it feels to throw away a lead? A United win could cement their top 4 ambitions and put them just 11 points off the leaders City. And it turned out to be a slightly cagey affair at the end. With both sides hesitating to go all-out attack, the result seems fair to both the parties concerned. Both the defences stood firm throughout the 90 minutes.
With both the sides failing to create a single clear cut opportunity, here are four talking points from the game:
United's depth will be tested in the following weeks: Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial were already out due to injuries. Both of them weren’t even fit for the bench. Solskjaer was forced to play Scott McTominay in the midfield. And right in the first 45 minutes as the game started, United were forced to use all their three substitutions. First, Ander Herrera had to make way for Andreas Pereira before Jesse Lingard came in for Juan Mata. Both had a muscle problem. Jesse Lingard himself was coming out of a hamstring problem against PSG and he pulled up right on the stroke of halftime. Alexis Sanchez was called upon on his place. With Arsenal and PSG games to come in the following weeks, the red’s depth in the squad will be tested.
Mohamed Salah went missing again: This is not the first time that Mo Salah went missing for the majority of the game against United. He failed to cut through to the centre of the park. Shaw had him covered and nullified any attack that came from the left side of the pitch. Ashley Young did the exact same thing when Liverpool visited Old Trafford the last time around. United is the only top 6 side that he has failed to find the back of the net in the Premier League. Unlike Suarez and Torres who raised their game against Red Devils, Salah just goes missing against them.
A fair result at the end for both the sides: The game was cagey right from the word go. Only 4 shots were on target throughout the whole game. 3 from United and 1 from Liverpool. Liverpool dominated much of the game and had 65% possession. But they failed to convert this possession into anything meaningful. They didn't pose any sort of threat going forward. United sat deep to stop Liverpool's attack. Rather it was United who looked deadly on the counter-attack. Lukaku played a stunning ball to Lingard who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but failed to convert much due to goalkeeper's heroics. In the end, it was only a fair result as both the teams shared points.
A game not worth remembering: All the pre-match coverage of this game and about this rivalry went in vain as neither side looked up for the challenge. Substitutions did play a major role in the proceedings too. Liverpool had Roberto Firmino injured in the first half too. So there was a total of four substitutions in the first half of the match. Both the sides knew the consequences of defeat in this particular fixture. That could potentially affect the mood going into the last quarter of the season. A total of only 4 shots on targets were recorded throughout the whole match.
Both sides have different ambitions this season. One is going for the title and the other is just happy with a top 4 finish. Let's see how they end up in the final standings!