Red Monday didn’t quite deliver all the prematch excitement it promised. In small, Liverpool dominated United stat wise in large parts of the game. The first half of the game saw United edge the hosts, but the second half was certainly Liverpool’s to win. The Red’s were denied a few big chances to take the lead by the brilliance of David de Gea – and Antonio Valencia’s last ditch tackle on Firmino prevented what could’ve easily been a goal. At the other end, Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a glancing header that he really should’ve converted.
A lot of talk before the game surrounded referee Anthony Taylor, but to the man’s credit he dealt with everything that was thrown at him. The game didn’t produce any of the rough tackles and confrontations we’re used to with United v Liverpool clashes, and it’s fair to say that the game could only be described as ‘boring’. Mourinho’s stance on big games is to not concede, and he achieved that well on Monday night. The Portuguese will be criticised for putting a downer on the game with his tactics, but the manager got what he wanted out of his team – and it was imperative he did not lose the game.
Notable absentees for United included Mkhitaryan, Martial, Rooney and Mata. The latter of the 4 made the bench, but Mkhitaryan and Martial didn’t travel. Ashley Young made a surprise start, his first in the league since January, but played a very impressive part for the side.
Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic played in the most advanced roles for United, but made very little impact on the game at all. The midfield duo of Ander Herrera and Fellaini was hugely praised at the end of the game, and rightly so. Herrera was awarded man of the match by Sky Sports – the Spaniard has massively impressed this season under Mourinho.
Overall, it was a disappointing game. But a point against an in-form Liverpool is nothing to complain about. As previously mentioned, a loss would’ve spelled danger and put United well off the pace – especially with their tough upcoming fixtures.
Here’s how we rated the Manchester United team against Liverpool. The ratings are based relative to the game itself.
De Gea – 9
Valencia – 8
Smalling – 7
Bailly – 7
Blind – 7
Fellaini – 8
Herrera – 9
Young – 8
Pogba – 6
Rashford – 6.5
Ibrahimovic – 5