Reds held to a goalless draw at Anfield in a strangely subdued Premier League encounter…
Liverpool’s highly-anticipated clash with bitter rivals Manchester United failed to live up to expectations on Monday night as two of the titans of English football served up a surprisingly dull and uneventful encounter.
Much of that owed to the negative tactics of the visitors but Liverpool didn’t help themselves with an under par performance that rarely threatened to match their previous 2016/17 exploits.
Victory by three-goals or more would have seen Jürgen Klopp‘s men go top of the Premier League but they lacked creativity and composure in the final third.
Indeed it was United who looked more likely to open the scoring in the first half before Jose Mourinho’s side increasingly regressed in ambition as the game wore on.
Despite their lack of cutting edge, the Merseysiders did force David de Gea into making two stunning stops; the Spaniard expertly repelling Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho efforts.
A wonderfully timed tackle from Antonio Valencia also denied Roberto Firmino a sight of goal, while, at the other end in a rare foray into Liverpool’s box, Zlatan Ibrahimovic badly skewed a header.
The goalless draw was a first between these two in either league or cup for over a decade and speaking after the game to broadcaster Sky Sports, Klopp admitted: “I’ve got mixed emotions.”
“I’m not happy with the game,” continued the former Borussia Dortmund boss. “It was a hectic game. There was pressure here, pressure there. I don’t think we played as well as we could have. That’s our fault, nobody else’s.
“We started OK, but with their kind of defending – man-on-man defending – we weren’t brave anymore. We didn’t wait for the right pass. We created one-on-one situations but they had physical strength. That’s where perhaps they are better than we are. But they didn’t create many chances.
“We had two or three great saves from David de Gea, but our performance was not how it should be.
“It was our first clean sheet, so yippee. That’s all I’m happy about.”
United managed just 35% of possession during the contest and regularly leaned on their superior physically to help keep the hosts at bay.
“All the little fouls they did, it’s not a problem – that’s how football is,” added Klopp. “They want to win, or maybe just take a point.
“But we have to use it. We have to turn their strengths into a weakness. That’s what we didn’t do. It’s still very early in the season. Obviously today we couldn’t bring it through, that’s one part of the truth.”
The point means Liverpool remain in fourth, but close the gap to joint leaders Manchester City and Arsenal to two.
They are next in action on Saturday when West Bromwich Albion visit Anfield for a 5.30pm BST kick-off.
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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