Derby of the Reds remain undecided
Manchester United FC vs Liverpool FC has been one of the most iconic fixture in football calendar but the real footballing value has gone down in past couple of seasons. The fearless and attacking type of football played by the likes of Steven Gerard, Luis Suarez, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes regardless of the opponents strength, crowd pressure and table position lacks completely in this fierce derby in recent seasons. The thrilling and one of the heated game in the league has been replaced by nervy and caution full derby where either plays a controlled and ‘avoid conceding’ type of games. The fans also seem to be more interested in taking photographs of the away rather than creating a fiery and hostile environment for which the Liverpool Faithful are known for.
<>Despite big and a bit sarcastic press conference talk by Manchester United Manager Jose Mourhino to play a highly attacking football, he fielded a defensive minded team in which the right wing creative midfielder Juan Mata was missing. Ashley Young who was playing as Left back in previous few matches started with Anthony Martial as other winger. In truth they were defending and jostling for ball in fullback region with the backline more compressed to close down every inch of space to make life as hard as possible for Coutinho, Salah and Firmino. Backed up with defensive stubbornness of Matic and Herrera. Lukaku was also running in deep to help out his teammates. Thus bringing out once again the classic Jose Mourhino setup.
<>The injuries in both camp also played a part in this goal less draw with Eric Bailly, Michael Carrick , Fellani and Pogba missing out for the Red Devils while Sadio Mane, Adam lallana and Nathaniel Clyne remaining sidelined for Liverpool. Salah was almost able to fill the gap of injured Sadio Mane with his usual lively play and a wonderful pair of quick feet but his shots in front of goal of goal lacked his usual accuracy and poison. Coutinho and Firmino created some problems for the United backline but doggy defending and possible penalty incident overlooked did not help Liverpool much. Henderson showed real directness and pace but was unable to deliver final ball with as much zeal as he would have wanted due to immense pressure from the cluster of white shirts in Liverpool’s attacking third. Wijnaldum was sharp throughout the game and a did very well to deliver a cross field pass to release Salah for a Liverpool counter.
<>The Liverpool back-line was untested almost throughout the game as we compared to your hope of facing tremendous goal treat from Lukaku, Martial or Mkhitaryan. But the one two from Mkhitaryan with Martial and Lukaku unwrap the defensive cover in second only a straight shot from the Belgian to his fellow countrymen saved the day. On the other end the best chance of the game was from the follow up from a corner when Firmino dribbled Valencia and Young to the touchline and sent a low drive which David De Gea yet again saved emphatically with his feet from point blank range against Matip’s poke. Half hearted clearance from Matic gave a chance to Salah which put just away from the far post from inside the penalty area. Like against Coutinho’s last year screamer yet was another example of pure agility and reaction from the Spanish Number 1. Coutinho was again unlucky in this match not to win a penalty kick when referee Martin Atkinson signalled play on when Herrera appeared to clip Coutinho’s heel inside the box.
<> For the away team De Gea was the only from the player with starked individual performance rest of the team was just an well drilled defensive machine with each player marking and pressing on turns. The backline of Jones and Smalling was brick solid with a ever present hard working midfield cover inform of Herrera and Matic present in front of them.
<>Coming on from bench Rashford’s contribution in the attacking sphere wasn’t that great but he managed to press and disturb the Liverpool’s attacking game which is all is manager wants. Instead Alex Oxlade Chamberlain showed some good tenacity and delivered some good crossed in the dying minutes. Jesse Lingard coming in for a underwhelming Mikhatarian showed his freshness and youthful pressing to break up the opponent’s build up play. Daniel Sturridge and Solanke coming in for Coutinho and Firmino didn’t got much time to show his flair. The final substitution from Mourhino with Premiere League Debutant Victor Lindelof for Young boomed the Manager’s wish of staying happy with a point furthermore.