Report: Manchester United take a point from Anfield stalemate

Manchester United came away from Anfield with a point after a very tactical game from United frustrated Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp. United came here with a clear game plan and it worked, Liverpool didn’t settle into the game well and in the end, a draw was a fair result.

An aggressive start to the game as both teams came out with a clear game plan, United were going to try to slow Liverpool down and counter when possible, Liverpool were going to attack, attack, attack. Rashford left his mark on Milner in the opening minute with a heavy challenge, the start of a trend as United gave four fouls away in the first three minutes. The first attempt on goal came after six minutes when Ibrahimovic blasted a 35-yard free kick well over the bar. United dominated the first 20 minutes, breaking the game down well and frustrating Liverpool, no real chances being created but the slow style suited Mourinho and his men. Liverpool’s first opportunity came after 22 minutes as Emre Can’s poor attempt flies over De Gea’s bar.

After 29 minutes Liverpool finally find their footing in the game and a good spell of possession leads to a chance, Henderson drifts a cross into the box and Firminio, who had moved to the back post behind Valencia, but his header found the arms of Dea Gea comfortably. again the game settled into a slower tempo, United looking to counter and Liverpool trying to break down what was at times, a United back seven with wing-backs tucking in and Fellaini sitting in. United’s pressure had a massive effect on Liverpool’s playing style, they struggled to put a run of passes together and didn’t pose United much of a threat at all in the first 40 minutes. The last five minutes followed suit but a little bit more aggressive in the tackles, leading to Bailly and Young getting booked. Half Time 0-0.

No changes from either side at the interval as the second half got under way.  The half started off relatively slow but you could see gaps opening up at either end. Again, however, no real chances created with the possession both teams had within the first eight minutes of the half. 54 minutes gone and a good chance for United as Pogba wriggled free and found Ibrahimovic at the back post but his header went across goal rather than attacking the near post. Liverpool then had a chance to get themselves on the scoresheet after a soft foul was given against Herrera but  Coutinho decided to go short and it was easily dealt with by the United defence.

Only 2 minutes later Liverpool had another chance to open the scoring, Emre Can slipped through the United defence and De Gea pulls off a fantastic save to deny the German international. 65 minutes in and Liverpool by far the more likely team to break the deadlock, but everything they tried they couldn’t break the United defence down. Where Liverpool were making sloppy passes in the first half, it was United’s turn this half, Young and Blind on separate occasions giving the ball away poorly. Out of nowhere really, after 71 minutes, Coutinho lashes a shot from 25 yards out to which De Gea pulls off a terrific save diving away to his left-hand side. Still 0-0.

After 76 minutes Manchester United make their first change, Marcus Rashford who was suffering from cramp for Wayne Rooney. Liverpool continued to press, trying to find a way through but still not a lot happening in front of goal. A good run from Antonio Valencia, however, gives United their first corner after 80 minutes and it unfortunately, followed the theme of the game as Fellaini heads wide.

Another massive moment for Liverpool, a good piece of play from Firminho sees him through on goal but Antonio Valencia flies in with a heroic tackle to knock it out for a throw in. Top quality defending from the makeshift right-back!

Into the last few minutes and not a lot to indicate this game will provide a goal, both teams throwing everything into their style, United defending strongly and trying to counter hard, Liverpool trying to break down the solid back 4 of United. Ander Herrera quite rightly named Man of the Match by Sky Sports. He broke the game up nicely for United and has been solid in both attack and control of the defence. Luke Shaw on for the last-minute of the three added on just to try to waste time from Mourinho. This game had the potential to be a goal-fest but United managed the game well and have frustrated Liverpool, the final whistle brought to end an intense game of football.

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′

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copyright: JW

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