It was Manchester Vs Merseyside this weekend. With Everton’s impressive demolition of Man City earlier in the day, Merseyside were 1-0 up.
Over to Liverpool to see what they could do against Manchester United. It was a typical thunderous encounter where Liverpool led through James Milner’s 27th-minute penalty. However, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late equaliser earned United a point. Which based on their second half performance they would say they deserved.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Milner; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Can; Firmino, Origi, Lallana.
Manchester United XI (4-3-3): De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian; Herrera, Carrick, Pogba; Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic, Martial.
- Late injury to Clyne meant start for Trent Alexander-Arnold.
- Matip didn’t play due to not being given cleared by FIFA due to AFCON.
- Mignolet chosen ahead of Karius.
- Milner penalty made it 1-0 in 1st half.
- Late header from Ibrahimovic made it 1-1.
It was an interesting first half with a few clear cut opportunities and to his credit it would probably be 2-1 to United had Mignolet not played out of his skin. Truly amazing saves from him, especially the Ibrahimovic free kick from just outside the area. Amazing reflexes and clearly repaying the faith shown in him from Jurgen Klopp.
Firmino showed on numerous occasions why his is Liverpool’s most effective attacking player when they press like they do. Defensively leading the line so well. Spraying balls, linking midfield with attack and not allowing Jones or Rojo any time on the ball. It was Firmino harrassing Jones which forced the corner that resulted in out goal.
James Milner converted a penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner in the 26th minute after Pogba handled the ball in the penalty area.
Hunting in packs was key for Liverpool in the first half. Lallana was instrumental in nullifying the threat of Michael Carrick. Pressing him and forcing him to positions on the pitch that opened up space for Wijnaldum or Can to exploit. Simply superb, proving once again he is one of the most intelligent footballers in the league.
Lovren had an outstanding 1st half. Completely dominating the back line and being a threat going forward. At every opportunity he embarrassed Pogba. Going past him 5 times in the first half alone, it’s almost as if Pogba hasn’t had any defensive training on how to mark.
Mourinho had to do something to counter Lallana’s effective marking on Carrick – so he took him off. Adjusting the tactics to at times just bypass the midfield. It was high energy, high octane football.
On the 60th minute Origi was replaced by Coutinho who went straight into action. Releasing some of the pressure from the midfield and adding that extra threat on the counter.
Within moments he started to dictate and control the Liverpool play. What was interesting was that prior to him coming on we lost most second balls that half. His sheer presence calmed the team down and their confidence and to a certain extent ability to perform increased. Amazing influence.
10 minutes later, Rooney, a second half sub for Utd hacked Milner down. But the Yorkshire lad was back on the pitch within minutes. He has a reputation and he wants to keep it. When he scores – he doesn’t lose, simple.
Every time Paul Pogba got the ball, two Liverpool men hound in and the Frenchman surrendered possession too easily. Klopp’s men had systematically targeted the world’s most expensive player today. Pogba must have a clause in his contract that states he can’t be substituted. There was no reason he should have played the majority of the game!!
Zlat man again.
Finally Manchester United get the breakthrough. A Fellaini header from six yards out, came back off the post. Typical Ibrahimovic, who arched his neck round to header the ball into the net off the crossbar.
Liverpool continued to attack right to the end, where Wijnaldum’s shot went straight at Phil Jones. Moments later, swift interchanging from a Liverpool attack with Wijnaldum attacking the box, but the Dutchman’s shot was awful allowing de Gea to easily gather without any problems.
Despite draw still joint second
A usually free-flowing, attack-minded Liverpool side failed to find the back of the net in each of their previous two games, which was the first time they were unable to do so since last February.
Liverpool played with much more energy in the first half really challenging Man Utd. A disappointed result where we drew 1-1, coupled with Utd fans celebrating the score suggests just how far we have actually come under Jurgen Klopp.
It continues to be a difficult January, we need to be careful though. After Chelsea’s loss to Tottenham they replied in style. After beating Chelsea, Tottenham continued their great run and are now second in the league.
I am just thankful that our fixtures towards the closing stages of the season are against teams I’m confident we will get 3 points from.
What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.
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