There’s really no need for an introduction if Man United are facing Liverpool. Two of the most successful clubs in English football, arguably one of the greatest derbies across the globe. Of course, the renewed importance of the clash considering both teams are finally involved in a title chase after more than a decade. Anfield has been Jurgen Klopp’s fortress over the last few seasons. The defending champions faced a stern test against Ole Gunnar Solskaer’s early table-toppers.
Liverpool: Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Andrew Roberston; Thiago, Georgino Wijnaldum, Xherdan Shaqiri; Mohammed Salah, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane.
Man United: David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw; Fred, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes; Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford.
In our preview, we predicted 10 out of 11 players in both lineups who were actually playing on the field for respective teams yesterday.
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For all the excitement and buzz the game created, the first half was a snoozefest. Liverpool dominated possession, pressing the United defence and midfield relentlessly. The visitors were more than happy to hold shape and defend with gusto. With Solskjaer’s opting to play Paul Pogba on the right, Andrew Roberston made the most of the match and found a lot of free space, but failed to make it count. As the defending champions failed to really threaten David de Gea and Co.
As for Man United, nothing clicked for them. In transition or in the attack, and as Rashford seemingly found himself offside four times, the most in a half this season, along with Son Heung-Min vs Southhampton. Lindelof was solid in defense for Man United. While a returning Xherdan Shaqiri was at the forefront of everything for Liverpool.
Man United came alive in the second half. They made those quick counter-attacks that have been associated with Solskjaer’s side since the Norweigan took over. Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, and Bruno Fernandes were all guilty of missing clear cut chances. Liverpool’s attack was again broken down by a resolute Man United defense. The defending champions’ best effort came through a Thiago Alcanata shot, which was saved brilliantly by David de Gea, who did not have much to do on the night. Both teams have had a history of scoring late goals, but that wasn’t to be in the end, as the game ended 0-0.
Man United will rue their missed chances. But at the same time won’t be overly disappointed with the result as they still maintain their lead over Liverpool. The Red Devils are still atop the Premier League standings, but their rivals Manchester City could leapfrog them if they win their game in hand. As for Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp will need to find solutions fast to fix a disjointed attack that has looked out of sorts since Christmas. To their credit, the defending champions have kept themselves in title contention despite a host of injuries and lack of return s from their forwards but will need a lot more if they have to sustain their charge. Man United now has a game against Fulham next before another showdown against Liverpool in the FA Cup, while the Reds face take on a struggling Burnley.
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