What promised to be a thrilling encounter deteriorated into a disappointing draw as the tactics of the Portuguese nullified the threat of their hosts
Liverpool’s home encounter against Manchester United might have been a match that promised goals, yet it failed to deliver as 90 minutes produced only a frustrating scoreless stalemate.
It was Jurgen Klopp’s hosts who were the aggressors for the most part, yet the former Dortmund coach’s all-action style of football failed to make a dent in the defences of the Red Devils, who produced a robust defensive display that manager Jose Mourinho would have been proud of.
United allowed their opponents’ possession and simply tried to withstand their attacks. As an attacking force, the Old Trafford club were extremely limited. They had only 35 per cent of the ball and claimed only one corner over the course of the fixture. With this, they had only six efforts at goal, one of which found the target and the other five not even going close.
If they were disappointing as an offensive threat, though, Mourinho would have been pleased with the solidarity of his side’s defensive work. Granted, Liverpool bossed the vast majority of the ball, but they were only able to win three corners and mustered only as many shots as their rivals. The Reds were a little more threatening with their efforts on goal, finding the target with three strikes, but they were pretty well asphyxiated by their guests.
Klopp’s side tried everything in their powers to find a way through their opponents. At times this season they have been a little unbalanced and have relied on attacking down the flank of Philippe Coutinho, but while they did show a little bias of going down the left as opposed to the right, they actually directed 36% of their attacks through the centre. Perhaps playing with a little more width might have stretched Mourinho’s encamped troops a little more.
This was not the fiery clash that had produced 16 red cards in the past, making it the hottest Premier League fixture in history, with the exception of the Liverpool derby. The hosts will be disappointed that they failed to secure maximum points given their dominance, while Klopp has lost just one of his six meeting with Mourinho now.
More importantly for the German, he is left with the consolation that his men have ended a four-game losing streak against United that was the Reds’ worst in this fixture since 2008.