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Ratings: Spanish duo David De Gea and Ander Herrera do Manchester United proud in Anfield draw

Manchester United played for a draw after an exciting first 20 minutes against Liverpool, and they achieved exactly what they wanted, earning a 0-0 draw at Anfield. Despite having only 35% of the ball, United had equal opportunities to the opposition, and that’s the major takeaway from this match- we’ve learned over the last three years that holding possession and doing nothing with it provides no relevance in football anymore, besides simply shortening the match. We can thank Liverpool for denying us from about 55 minutes of action the way Louis van Gaal used to do last year, effectively giving either side around 17 minutes to score in the match.

The match was capped off by a world class performance from Ander Herrera, who completely shut Liverpool out defensively, and some incredible saves from David de Gea. United was clearly meant to attack with Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Marcus Rashford, all of whom underwhelmed throughout the match as United missed the ball retention and interplay of Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard. Ibrahimovic and Pogba, the major duo, underwhelmed throughout the match, and United didn’t really get stretched out until the very end.

Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Fellaini, Herrera, Pogba; Young (Shaw 90+2′), Ibrahimovic, Rashford (Rooney 77′)

Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Rojo, Mata, Lingard, Carrick;

Bookings: Eric Bailly 44′, Ashley Young 45+1′, Zlatan Ibrahimovic 90′, Marouane Fellaini 90+1

Manchester United

1 David De Gea

Pulled a couple of outstanding saves to deny Liverpool, though that implies they did more than just pass the ball around all game.

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25 Antonio Valencia

One of the best players on the pitch. Denied Philippe Coutinho from creating a chance with an outstanding tackle.

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3 Eric Bailly

Stepped out when called upon and made some good interceptions. Liverpool didn’t do much to create opportunities.

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12 Chris Smalling

Didn’t have much to do throughout the match, and when he did, he usually passed it on to Bailly. Which works, by the way.

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17 Daley Blind

Did a very good job winning the ball but made a few errors and struggled moving forward. He had some heroic moments, though, and kept Mane out of the game, which says enough about the player he’s become.

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27 Marouane Fellaini

Solid display. Playing alongside Herrera, he struggled to pass the ball forward at all, which he was supposed to do in his role.

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21 Ander Herrera

World class display from the Spaniard. Fighting, heroic, Monday night football from Herrera, what you think of when you remember heroic midfield performances. This isn’t a night to remember, but this defensive display from Herrera was worth it, not perfect, but the best performance I’ve seen from a midfielder for United this season.

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6 Paul Pogba

Struggled a little bit in an advanced role. Had some gifted moments, but didn’t influence the match overall and should be able to do more. Liverpool marked him at every touch.

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18 Ashley Young

In a disciplined display from Young, he often looked the left-back with Blind on the wing. He didn’t influence the game going forward but he was very influential defensively. Replaced by Shaw.

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9 Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Poor. He didn’t give United the relief with hold-up play, got caught up offside when he shouldn’t have been and missed a key chance. The other ten players on the pitch carry Ibrahimovic with the hope that he’ll bury his chances and he hasn’t done that tonight.

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19 Marcus Rashford

Anonymous display. Playing out on the right-wing isn’t suited to him, but he was clearly there to expose James Milner and didn’t make anything of it. Replaced by Rooney.

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Substitutes

10 Wayne Rooney

Replaced Rashford. He came on and became an instant defensive liability, but it didn’t cost United.

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23 Luke Shaw

Replaced Young. Good to see him again. Didn’t have time to impress, but made an exciting bicycle clearance.

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