Reds fail to make their superiority pay in a largely forgettable encounter with rivals Manchester United…
Liverpool and Manchester United renewed hostilities on Saturday lunchtime but their much-hyped encounter failed to live up to expectations.
There was the usual passion and commitment from supporters and players alike but the non-stop action and contentious incidents often associated with the fixture were largely lacking.
Liverpool enjoyed the bulk of possession and territory in front of the newly christened Kenny Dalglish Stand but ultimately failed to find a way past a resolute and somewhat negative United.
Much of that was down to visiting goalkeeper David de Gea, who was by far the busier of the two shot-stoppers and made a number of telling contributions, not least a great reflex save to deny Joël Matip from close range in the first half.
Opposite number Simon Mignolet comfortably repelled the one shot on target mustered by the visitors, although that owed much to Romelu Lukaku striking a presentable opening almost directly at him from the edge of the area.
Emre Can had arguably the best opportunity of the second half but the German midfielder couldn’t keep his effort down following a good dinked ball into the box by the impressive Joe Gomez.
Bar a muted claim for a penalty when Ander Herrera clumsily felled Philippe Coutinho, there was little in the way of debatable decisions to help stoke up the on-field action.
The result, which was a carbon copy of the last meeting at Anfield 12 months ago, means Liverpool and United have drawn three consecutive league meetings for the first time since 1921.
Of more concern to Kop boss Jürgen Klopp will be the fact the Merseysiders have now won just once in eight games in all competitions and trail Premier League leaders Manchester City by nine points.
Analysing proceedings at his post-match press conference, a prickly Klopp remarked: “It looked to me like they wanted a point; if they could get three, they would take it of course, but we wanted three. So they are happy and we are not happy…
“But it’s a home game so we should be dominant. I’m OK with the performance. It’s not my job to judge the Manchester United performance.
“Maybe we didn’t create enough chances, but the problem is that everything you ask is always underlined with negativity. That’s how it is because of our situation. If we would have won the last five games, today we created enough chances to win the game and we should have been given a penalty, maybe a red card and all that stuff. But now, again, we didn’t.
“You can write whatever you want but we have to stay positive, and for me it’s easy because the performance gives me enough reasons to stay positive, absolutely.
“The boys performed again and learned a lot from the last game, protected our offensive situation perfectly against one of the best counter-attacking teams in the world…
“They defended with nine players in and around the box, that’s completely OK. I don’t judge this. It’s just that it makes our job a little bit more difficult.”
Liverpool’s next fixture in a busy, post-international break period is a Champions League group stage game in Slovenia against Maribor on Tuesday night.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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