How did Manchester United's players rate in their 0-0 draw at Liverpool?
The prevailing opinion before the game said a point would a positive result for Manchester United at Anfield, and a 0-0 draw earned them exactly that. Jose Mourinho had them pressing Liverpool fairly high in the opening stages, and encouraged Jurgen Klopp’s side to play long.
As they game wore on, United defended increasingly deep with their wide players dropping in to make a 6-3-1 at times. Given the form Liverpool have shown as an attacking force it was good night’s work for Mourinho and the back half of his team. He would have wanted a bit more from Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic who he handed free roles at the top end of the pitch.
Given the way in Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City outplayed United at Old Trafford last month, the former Chelsea manager will be pleased to regain some big game credibility.
David de Gea- 8/10
Usually when a goalkeeper gets a high mark it is because he made plenty of saves, but this was a question of quality rather than quantity. Had very little to do across the 90 minutes, especially in the first half, but made two fantastic saves from Philippe Coutinho and Emre Can in the second. The save from Can, down low from close range, was the pick of the two.
Antonio Valencia- 7/10
Solid overall, even if he was one the few United players to get caught in possession on occasion for which he got a touchline earful from Mourinho. He was well protected by Marcus Rashford, and earned an extra mark for a superb goal saving tackle on Roberto Firmino late on. Still a position United might look to upgrade on in the future, but did his job tonight.
Eric Bailly- 8/10
After a promising start to his Old Trafford career, Bailly had a torrid time against Manchester City last month as Pep Guardiola’s side ran riot in the early stages of the game. Was aggressive tonight up against Daniel Sturridge, and his recovery pace is a great asset for Mourinho.
Chris Smalling- 7/10
A stalwart for United under Louis Van Gaal, the England international has struggled to nail down a place under Mourinho and has had come early season fitness worries. However, did not put a foot wrong tonight even though he was very well protected. His distribution is sometimes a concern, but wasn’t really tested tonight as United went from back to front quite quickly.
Daley Blind- 7/10
Played extremely narrow, near enough as a third centre back but wasn’t ever caught out bar one second half slip. Stuck to Sadio Mane, Liverpool’s most lethal attacker so far this season, like glue as the visitors dealt with Liverpool’s right flank well for the whole 90 minutes.
Ander Herrera- 8/10
Awarded the man of the match award by Sky Sports, the former Athletic Bilbao midfielder won more tackles and interceptions than any player on the pitch. Herrera has been impressive since coming into the team against Leicester last month, and looking at his performances currently, it seems as if he has been hard done by in the last two seasons.
Marouane Fellaini- 8/10
His selection raised a few eyebrows before the game, with many expecting he was selected too hurt Liverpool with his aerial ability in their penalty area. That didn’t really materialise; United didn’t win many set pieces in dangerous positions. However, the Belgian was strong in the duels and his passing was uncharacteristically tidy.
Had to sacrifice himself for his team because Mourinho asked his wide players to play as auxiliary fullbacks, and did his defensive work very diligently for a young player. United actually were on the front foot in the opening 20 minutes and the England man passed up a few opportunities to make a difference in the last third.
Paul Pogba- 6/10
Produced a magnificent moment of quality to set up United’s best chance of the game when he put a well weighted cross straight on the head of Ibrahimovic. Will always be judged by impossible standards in some quarters because of the size of his transfer fee, but needs to produce more. Was given a free role tonight, so can no longer complain about having too much defensive responsibility.
Ashley Young- 8/10
Excelled in a defensive role on the left flank and tracked Clyne all night long. United’s squad is not blessed with players who have natural defensive instincts, but Young showed under van Gaal that he can carry out instructions to the letter. A specialist crosser of the ball, Mourinho will be a little disappointed they didn’t get to utilise this asset considering the height in their side.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic- 5/10
Missed United’s best chance of the game, and United needed much more from him as well as Pogba. Especially in the second half as United got increasingly deep, they needed the former Barcelona and Juventus man to hold the ball up, but too often it didn’t stick. He and Pogba were handed the keys to this team tonight, and weren’t quite sharp enough.
Wayne Rooney- 6/10
Introduced for Rashford late on and was asked to replicate his defensive job on the right flank. Let James Milner go on one occasion, and didn’t do much else of note.
Featured image: All rights reserved by Serg Hoholok
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