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Football News: Man Utd v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Man Utd v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Manchester United v Liverpool

 

Well that was not a good watch from a Liverpool perspective, as they were poor, partially through Man Utd's set up locking them out, partially because they did not pass the ball well. Against a team set up to deny space, as United did so well, the passing has to be spot on to get through. Instead the midfield were constantly trying to thread the eye of a needle through a gap that just was not there because McTominay and Matic were in the way. The movement was extremely poor and a lot of poor decision making from the team as a whole turned it into a very limp performance. Not one player could be singled out as having a good game, as they were all ineffective. The defence was back to the mess of individuals struggling to play as a back line. The midfield struggled to make any impression in the final third and the attack were shut out of the game.

Overall, while Liverpool dominated possession, particularly in the second half, they posed little real threat to a United team that packed their defence and protected de Gea very well. Even the one goal for Liverpool came via United. While Man Utd posed no threat in the second half, they had done enough in the first to win. There is a case to make that the referee could have given Liverpool a way back in, he was poor, but none of the decisions were cast iron. Rashford could have been booked for celebrating in the crowd, but, personally, I am glad that he was not, as I think that should not be a yellow card. Players and fans get so little interaction that a bit of celebrating together should be seen as a good thing, if anything.

There were a couple of potential penalties that I have seen given in other games, but none were ones I would consider definite penalties, just ones that sometimes are given, sometimes not. Valencia could well have been sent off, possibly should have, for his lunge with a foot up, but we have seen all season long that players only get punished for those if they actually make contact. However that is really grasping at straws to look to those, the simple fact of the matter is that Man Utd defended well and Liverpool did not attack well and it was probably a deserved win, even if Mourinho's tactics were a bit 80s Wimbledon. It just showed that there is a way to go yet for Liverpool to be the finished article.

 

Klopp - not sure what more he could have done. His players let him down when it mattered. Perhaps he should have downplayed it the way Mourinho did so his players did not choke? Hard to say, but I personally do not think a game should be any more than a game, the next one should always be the most important, there should be no talk of 'big games' every game in a Liverpool shirt should be big.

 

Karius - was exposed by his defence and had little chance with either goal. Perhaps out of position on the first, but he had been drawn out by poor play from the defenders. On the second he had no chance thanks to the deflection.

 

Alexander-Arnold - had a mare. Just one of those days, but hopefully it will teach him to be more alert and to work on his match preparation as he was caught out by Rashford bringing the ball onto his stronger foot, when he should have expected it. Next time he should make sure to do his research and know what foot a player will look to get the ball onto. It happens though, he is still learning the game.

 

Lovren - was bullied in the first half by Lukaku, but his defensive partner did nothing to help him, quite the opposite in fact. He was outmuscled by a player who should do that to more centre halves, it happens, but you normally expect the second centre half to cover. Lovren did have a poor game though.

 

van Dijk - abysmal. Did everything that I hated about him at Southampton. He was bought to be the powerhouse defender to win the headers, but he left the headers to his centre back partner, never once taking responsibility. Just to make matters worse, he did not even cover when Lovren went for a header. He showed an exact opposite of defensive responsibility as he just watched Lovren struggle, instead of either taking responsibility or dropping off to cover for any missed header.

Worst of all was his utter ineptitude to leave Mata completely open for a chance he should have scored to make it 3-0 in the first half. It was entirely his fault that such a clear opening came about. For me, he was the worst player on the pitch as he was the one who had the chance to make the difference but preferred to just hide away and leave his mate to struggle. Woeful.

 

Robertson - offered little at either end of the pitch, though he showed his usual excellent workrate, he passed up chance after chance to deliver a telling cross. Disappointing performance.

 

Milner - when it really matters his lack of real quality in the centre of midfield is always shown up. He is simply just not up to the job of creating and his deadballs are abysmal.

 

Can - as bad as van Dijk when it came to helping out Lovren. He should have been front screening Lukaku from goalkicks, but he was nowhere to be seen. Needs to show more tactical acumen.

 

Oxlade-Chamberlain - struggled to get any meaningful attacks going and did little to effect the game. Never had any space to work anything worthwhile and not enough movement ahead to pick out.

 

Salah - was shut out of the game as United denied him any room to work in.

 

Mane - showed more than most, as he kept trying to make something happen. It was a real struggle for him as well.

 

Firmino - tried his best but there was no space to do anything in the final third.

 

Subs:

Lallana - came on in the 62nd minute to try and create something but offered little other than hard work. Still looks off the pace of the game.

Wijnaldum - with Liverpool dominating possession he replaced Alexander-Arnold in the 80th minute at right back. Did a few decent things but had little impact.

Solanke - was brought on in the 84th minute as a last roll of the dice, but far too late to make a genuine impact.

Written by Tris Burke March 12 2018 07:29:04