Liverpool were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw by Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, but remain three points clear of their fierce rivals.
Many Liverpool watchers speculated that the absence of Adam Lallana and Giorgino Wijnaldum would disrupt their flow, and so it proved. Particularly in the first half, United pressed from the front and stopped Jurgen Klopp’s side from playing out from the back.
Jurgen Klopp’s side were unable to play through this pressure and surrendered possession on many occasions. The Reds improved in the second period, notably after the introduction of Lallana, and forced David de Gea into two fine saves.
Overall, a decent point for Liverpool but they’ll go into a free week wondering what might have been. We looked at how the hosts players rated in last night’s cagey affair.
Loris Karius- 6/10
Gary Neville is building something of a track record for digging out goalkeepers, and was keen to pounce on any sign of nerves from Liverpool’s new German goalkeeper. Came out and missed one cross in the first half, and his footwork could have been cleaner to get Liverpool playing out from the back more smoothly. Far from a disaster though, and will get better. Barely had a save of note to make.
Nathaniel Clyne- 7/10
The England international had a great battle with Ashley Young down this flank, and both equipped themselves well. Not as lively going forward as he usually is, but Jurgen Klopp’s team didn’t allow United time to cross the ball into their box and Clyne was an important part of that. Given the height advantage United possessed, this was important.
Joel Matip- 8/10
Another impressive performance in a big game from one of Liverpool’s summer signings. Their recruitment has been patchy at best in recent years, but Matip looks a good find. He gives the Reds welcome physical presence and dealt with Zlatan Ibrahimovic quite comfortably. Jamie Carragher was right to point out Liverpool’s back line for praise; they gave little away.
Dejan Lovren- 7/10
Not quite as dominant as Matip perhaps, but another solid display by the Croatian. Was something of a laughing stock in his first season at Anfield, and people were quick to forget how good he was at Southampton. He is looking closer to that player, and did particularly well in one moment of the first half when it seemed Paul Pogba might run away from him.
James Milner- 7/10
Had the pacy Marcus Rashford up against him, one clash that looked to be weighted in United’s favour. However, due to the overall pattern of the game, it was actually Milner pinning Rashford back and making him defend. Milner was as dependable as ever, and never got caught out.
Emre Can- 6/10
A very hard player to pin down and analyse. You got the feeling his presence in midfield slowed Liverpool down in the first half and disrupted their build up play. The German has also been out injured for a while, and this was a tough game to be thrown into. Can looks a bit cumbersome on the ball at times, but can glide past oppositions players with ease on other occasions. Forced a great save from de Gea in the second half.
Jordan Henderson- 5/10
Full of endeavour as you expect from him, but was as guilty as anyone for treating the football like a hot potato in the first half. Without the silkier talents of Lallana and Wijnaldum alongside him, his technical limitations were a tad exposed when United pressed. The way in which he was forced backwards on a couple of occasions in the second half when in a good positions exemplified this.
Philippe Coutinho- 6/10
A typical Coutinho performance, where he frustrated for long periods but very nearly produced a blockbuster moment to win the game. Doesn’t control games and play with his head as much as he should do, though there was little space for him to operate in. Fantastic long range strike in the second period drew an acrobatic save from de Gea.
Sadio Mane- 6/10
Tried to make things happen and provoke situations in the final third, but not one if his best nights. That said, as with all of Liverpool’s forwards, this criticism must be caveated by mentioning the lack of space on offer as United blocked them off. Relies on his ability in one against one situations, but came off second best in too many duels. As Klopp alluded to in his post-match interview, this was an issue for Liverpool generally.
Roberto Firmino- 7/10
Some of Firmino’s off the ball movement was very good and when he moved into the centre forward position, Liverpool looked far more dangerous. Looked as if he was clean through to score the winner but Antonio Valencia produced a magnificent tackle.
Daniel Sturridge- 5/10
Given what is now a rare chance as Liverpool’s main striker, Sturridge struggled to make much of an impact; but again, that should be tempered by considering the overall team display. Won’t be helped but the fact Liverpool looked a better side after he was substituted.
Adam Lallana- 7/10
Had to start on the bench due to a groin concern, but made a big difference after his second half introduction. Is so adept at receiving the ball at the half turn, and this enabled Klopp’s side to ply though United a little more readily. Will certainly win back his starting place when fully fit.
Divock Origi- N/A
Not on for long enough to warrant a rating.
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