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Football News: Liverpool v Manchester United - A Liverpool Perspective

Liverpool v Manchester United - A Liverpool Perspective
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Liverpool v Manchester United A Liverpool Perspective

 

That was an absolute humiliation for Mourinho, who is probably just thankful to have got away with just a 3-1 defeat, as it could have been far, far worse for United. They were completely outplayed in every aspect of the game and offered almost nothing. Liverpool did not just dominate possession, they created chance after chance and Man Utd showed no signs of being able to stop them from breaking through.

I honestly cannot remember a more one-sided game against a side in the top flight. What must be worrying, for Man Utd fans anyway as it will not be worrying many other people, is how little response Jose Mourinho had to the situation. His default response, to bring on Fellaini and go long, was worse than no response. Not only did it not help, if anything it made matters worse. His only impact was on a steward by the corner flag when he tried a shot on goal.

This game was a huge moment for both sides, it signalled that the power shift, which had been happening for a while, had gone beyond the tipping point, with United no longer able to muster up the fight to even make a game of it. I am trying to come up with a positive for Man Utd to take from the game, but there was nothing there to take from the game from their point of view. For Liverpool there was nothing but positives!

The worry from an LFC point of view is that it was such an easy victory the players could get complacent. Who would have thought that would ever be a worry after a game against Manchester United in the Premier League? They were a juggernaut rolling over everything for so long and all it took was one man to break it. No, I am not referring to Jose Mourinho. I mean Ed Woodward, who has become 'The Equaliser' just like he is often nicknamed, as he has managed to drag United, even with their vast wealth, down to the level of an average mid-table Premier League team (I was tempted to say like Everton, just to wind Ed025 up, but I am not sure if he reads these so will not waste the gag!).

 

Mourinho - the Special One is no longer special or anything approaching it. His ability to drag performances out of players in big games has vanished and all he seems able to do is blame others for his own failings as a tactician and manager. He is turning into Mark 'It's Never My Fault' Hughes. Except the football is even worse than Hughes' teams produce, which is saying something. When his team is struggling his only answer is to bring on Fellaini and hoof it towards him, which says it all.

Why he was given a new contract is beyond me, it was clear that the second place he achieved last season was not sustainable under him. There was a definite argument that it was as false a position as Burnley's was. Even his ability to set up a defensive system has vanished, with United already conceding more goals this season than in the entirety of last season. This game has turned him into a dead man walking and that is never a good situation for the players. The uncertainty is just going to drag on and cause more problems. Rating: 0.5.

 

De Gea - he was peppered with shots but could do nothing with the three goals he conceded and never really had another difficult shot to save. He is definitely not the same player he was, his distribution is really poor and he looks nervous behind that defence, which transmits back to the defence and makes them nervous. Which then gets transmitted back to him and so on.

De Gea has been arguably the best keeper in the world for a while now, but he has not looked the same since the summer. He is in danger of not just losing his place as the best in the world, but of even being in the conversation unless he turns it around soon. Rating: 5.

 

Darmian - looked lost and all at sea. It does not matter if he is at full back or centre back, he is just not good enough against the top sides. He lacks the pace to deal with attackers, he is not good enough on the ball to be worth playing despite his defensive weakness. Rating: 3.

 

Bailly - looked a good player when he first joined the club, now he just looks wild and rash. So often he gets caught out of position racing out to make a challenge and not being able to get back when the ball is then played into the space he left. Rating: 4.

 

Lindelof - struggled all game to cope with the pace and movement. Gets physically bullied time and time again, but this time he was totally overwhelmed. Rating: 3.5.

 

Young - fell asleep to let Mane run past him on the first goal and offered little going forward or defensively. I am really not sure why he is even in the team. He offers no quality at either end. Rating: 3.

 

Dalot - had no idea who he was meant to be marking or where to position himself. He was overrun and it was no surprise he was taken off at half-time, though I think he would have benefitted from being given the chance to play as part of a back 4. Rating: 2.

 

Herrera - struggled really badly, was overwhelmed in midfield, though at least he puts the effort in trying to break up play. Rating: 3.5.

 

Matic - a passenger in the midfield in a game that you cannot afford a passenger. He is so far off the pace that he would have been overtaken by a tortoise with a bad limp and pulling a bus behind it. Even his height is no longer an asset, as he is very rarely in position to get to a header. Rating: 1.

 

Rashford - barely got a chance to get forward and get on the ball. He spent almost the entire game chasing back. Not his forte but at least he tried. He does make some good runs, but can be wasteful on the ball, he just never got the chance to offer any attacking threat this time. Rating: 3.5.

 

Lingard - he just does not offer enough these days. Usually he is an attacking threat who makes good runs and scores important goals, but it is just not happening this season. Mainly due to not getting the ball provided to him at the right time, but partly because he does not offer enough when the team lose possession. He was in the right place to net after Alisson's mistake though, which almost made up for the rest of his performance. Rating: 4.5.

 

Lukaku - the guy has trampolines for shoes and his ball control would embarrass a park footballer. So much power and pace but the intelligence of a pet rock (apparently that is really a thing! I mean a pet rock?!? Why? Just why??) and has the workrate of a park player who has come to the game fresh from a 16 hour shift at work. The team needed him to hold up the ball, but instead it just bounces off him so far that it is turned over straight away. Rating: 0.

 

Subs:

Fellaini - replaced Dalot in the 45th minute. He puts himself about but offers nothing other than aerial presence. Rating: 5.

Martial - took the place of Herrera in the 79th minute. Never got the chance to offer any threat at all. Rating: 4.

Mata - brought on in the 85th minute to replace Lingard. Offered about as much as Lingard did, nothing. Rating: 4.

 


Klopp - hard to argue with anything he did in this game. The tactics were spot on and his substitutions had the required effect. His team has gone from grinding out results to be almost back to their devastating best, while still maintaining a defensive solidity. The pressure was on but he got his team to respond in the best way possible to return to the top of the table. The question now is if he can keep doing so until the season finishes? Rating: 9.

 

Alisson - it is like a version of commentator's curse, Alisson gets praised to the heavens in recent days and then makes a silly error to concede a goal. You just knew it was going to happen. One thing in his favour is that after the error he does not hide, he still wants the ball and he still looks to be decisive and catch balls into the box and distribute it quickly. Some of his throws were exceptional. Despite his error costing a goal, he still managed to be a positive influence on the team performance to make up for it. Rating: 6.5.

 

Clyne - I have seen a lot of praise for his performance, but I am not actually sure why. Yes he tried to get down the line to support the attack when possible, worked hard and deserves praise for trying. However he was at times a liability on the ball and his poor technique was a real issue, especially when he attempted to cross the ball. His crossing is abysmal. Rating: 6.

 

Lovren - did a really good job of picking off loose balls forward and putting pressure on the forwards on those rare moments the ball reached the United frontline, ensuring they could never get control of things and get a foothold in the game. Looks to have built up a really good understanding with van Dijk. Rating: 7.5.

 

van Dijk - bossed the defensive area well, though he still needs to work on the accuracy of his heading. I can only remember him losing a defensive header once, but he needs to do more in the box on set pieces in the other half. He needs to start adding some goal threat to his game. Rating: 8.

 

Robertson - he grafts, he harries, hurrying the opposition into errors, though his delivery in the final third was poor, particularly on corners, which were dreadful. That aside he had an excellent game, but those corners were so bad I have to take marks off him! Rating: 7.5.

 

Wijnaldum - that was, in large part, an excellent performance. He was aggressive, broke forward in support of attacks and, when he ran out of ideas, even took on a couple of shots. He just needs to have more belief in himself when shooting as his shots were dreadful. Rating: 7.5.

 

Fabinho - Fabinho is finally starting to show what he is capable of, playing a delightful ball into Mane for the opener and breaking up almost every United attempt to get forward. Absolutely outstanding performance, though his shooting was a little wayward too. Rating: 9.

 

Keita - was busy and showed some nice stuff at times, especially when linking up with his close friend Mane, but was not the influence in the final third he would have hoped to be. The little give and goes in and around the box just failed to come off for him. Rating: 7.

 

Mane - scored the opener with an incredibly fluid piece of skill to bring it down and hit it. Was all over the pitch it seemed like at times, popping up and causing havoc. Whoever he faced out wide, it did not matter which player United to tried to use against him, as he was just past them and running in to the box. Days like this he is devastating. Rating: 8.5.

 

Salah - despite not being quite at his incredible best, he is still a real threat around the box. United dealt with it the only way Jose seems to know how, the Burnley way, lots of bodies and just hope someone gets in the way. It mostly worked as well to keep him from getting any genuinely good chances. Rating: 7.5.

 

Firmino - he was everywhere, twisting, turning, chasing back, making tackles, if we ever discover Kante has a brother he never knew about, it would probably turn out to be Firmino! It is not just what he does to win the ball back that makes him so good, it is what he does when the team has possession that really stands out. Not just his sometimes sublime pieces of skill and no look passes and shots, but his tireless work making runs to drag defenders and midfielders into places they do not want to be. When he plays well, LFC plays well. Rating: 8.5.

 

Subs:

Shaqiri - replaced Keita in the 70th minute. For a while it looked like Sturridge was going to be the supersub that kept Liverpool's season on track, but Shaqiri has taken that mantle on, as well as offering creativity when he starts. His two goals were straight from the Frank Lampard school of goalscoring. Hit it hard and on target into a press of bodies in front of you and you never know what can happen. If it takes a deflection, it is likely to wrong foot the keeper and if it sails straight through the keeper is unlikely to see it in time to react. Rating: 8.

Henderson - came on in place of Mane in the 84th minute. Came on and shut down the game completely to ensure United never really offered even a sign of getting back into the game in the final minutes. Rating: 6.5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke December 17 2018 18:43:49

 

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