Another 0-0 result.
This add’s to Liverpool’s misery of four draws in their last five games.
Although the Reds are currently back to the top of the table, last night’s stalemate at Old Trafford enunciated underlying issues within the squad, as they head into the last third of the title.
This deadlock against Manchester United not only dented their bid for the Premier League title, but in turn revealed some daunting weaknesses in their team.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced to use all three of his substitutions by the 43rd minute and yet, Klopp’s men could not do anything about it. The Norwegian had Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Jesse Lingard (who came on as a substitute) all withdrawn in the first half, and an ankle injury to Marcus Rashford meant United were technically playing with 10 and a half men.
Romelu Lukaku had swapped roles with Rashford, playing uncomfortably on the wings together with Alexis Sanchez. Rashford’s injury meant he could not come back on defence, and was only on the field to provide the extra sprint on the counter-attack. It was clear, that Lukaku was struggling to adapt to the position change but they still created more opportunities and considerable goal attempts.
In a game of high tempo and with the major factor of United’s midfield being broken down, Liverpool should feel right at home – but no.
After the half-time break, they looked even worst. No shots on target, the chances created were negligible. United’s offense looked more dynamic and free-flowing despite a sluggish Lukaku patrolling the wings. Daniel Sturridge’s introduction at the expense of Roberto Firmino was uninspiring to say the least. One long range effort from 40 yards out was all he contributed.
United’s original 4-3-1-2 formation slowly developed into a 4-5-1 or a defensive 4-3-3 partially due to injuries. But their shape was consistent, and Luke Shaw neutralised Mohammed Salah so well, he was named Man of The Match while Salah was quietly removed from the game.
United’s defence was exquisite, and perhaps it was the loss of three starting players which had them dig deep and play with more heart.
The best player for the Reds had to be Alisson Becker. His wonder save against Lingard was a sight to behold as he clinically clipped the ball away from a certain goal.
Klopp’s response at the post-match interview was one for the years.
“It cost us rhythm,” he said. “I’m not saying it should have, but there it is. If United played the same team as they did in the last couple of weeks, then it’s a different game. We know what they do, we know where they pass. But it was completely different, and it was obviously not good for us.”
To laugh or cry as a Liverpool fan, I’m at a loss of words.
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