Manchester United 2-1 Liverpool
Liverpool remain in 3rd place after their Premier League fixture with major rivals Man United.
Jurgen Klopp’s lineup could not be faulted, he put out a very strong squad to face United and it’s unlikely that any changes to the chosen starting 11 would have made a real difference to the final result.
As for United, they had former Everton player Romelu Lukaku as one of their major attackers and Pogba was injured so unavailable for this game.
This was the 200th meeting between England’s two most-decorated clubs. It would become clear from the start of the game that United were prepared to play defensively and would not be allowing Liverpool much space around the penalty area, tightly defending against any of our players who tried attacking. When Jose Mourinho says defend, his team defends. He’s used these deep defensive tactics for years with various clubs. Not that goals wouldn’t be scored eventually.
Marcus Rashford, making his first league start since about Christmas of 2017, would start the goalscoring in the 14th minute, Liverpool wouldn’t last even quarter of an hour without conceding unfortunately.
Romelu Lukaku pushed his way past Dejan Lovren to flick the ball that David de Gea has boosted up the pitch to him and would then assist Rashford, who cut inside Trent Alexander-Arnold before smashing his powerful shot into the far corner, past the diving Loris Karius. There was no stopping that shot. Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool
Virgil van Dijk should have helped Liverpool equalise around 23 minutes but he headed James Milner’s corner wide from five yards and soon after Rashford made him regret his miss even more a minute later.
After Lukaku got the better of Lovren in the air again, Juan Mata’s attempted shot was blocked into Rashford’s path and his low effort took a deflection off Alexander-Arnold to help it make it’s way past Karius and into the net. Manchester United 2-0 Liverpool.
United so nearly had a third goal nearing the end of the first half but Mata’s overhead kick did not reach the target, moments before Ashley Young denied Liverpool a chance for a goal, preventing Andrew Robertson’s cross from setting up Mohamed Salah for a tap-in. That should have been more for Liverpool. A bit more determination to get past your man and Robertson could have had an assist and Salah a goal. Such was the way of the game mostly. Liverpool were “ALMOST” doing what they needed to claim any points. Almost! So close! Not quite. Could have had that. Nearly scored. The “almost scored” gameplay is not good enough against big teams like United. You have to make every chance you get convert into a real goal or you’re likely to lose.
There was improvement from Liverpool after the break. We came out determined to not give up and maybe take something from the game. Chances were there, we just couldn’t convert them into actual goals that would have made the disappointing result different by the final whistle.
Virgil Van Dijk powered a header onto the roof of the United goal by the 49th minute before a combination of Chris Smalling and Young denied Salah from converting Roberto Firmino’s cross which should have been an “assist” if only Salah had increased his goal tally. Hardly Salah’s fault, he was so very tightly marked by the United defence and under Mourinho’s close eye for sure. Every attack an opportunity for Jose to put up a wall (or parked bus) of defence, as he does.
The referee and match officials in general were not helping of course. Liverpool had strong penalty appeals denied to them. Robertson’s cross appeared to strike Antonio Valencia’s arm, surely not possible to miss, or did the ref think it was “unintentional”? United could have intentions to try and stop the ball with their hand or arms, you know. Liverpool do not cheat, we only want what’s deservedly ours in all fairness. With a bit of luck and the match officials doing an unbiased job, maybe we’d have taken and scored a couple of penalties in this game. But, this was Old Trafford and the referee’s were clearly with the home side advantage in this fixture.
Liverpool would claim one goal in this game, though probably not from where you expected. Bailly would turn Sadio Mane’s cross into his own net. Wherever it was going, it still ended up in the goal. That may have been the luckiest moment of the whole game for Liverpool.
As the game came to the closing stages, substitute Gini Wijnaldum’s 18-yard drive deflected inches wide. There was a chance from Mané as he ran into the area and with Bailly around perhaps there was a chance we’d break past the United defence and get one more goal but it wasn’t to be. Then later into the sixth-minute of stoppage time, Salah powered a volley over the crossbar and Liverpool’s hopes of a comeback just could not be converted into goals.
Man of the Match
If Sadio Mané hadn’t made a cross into the United penalty area for Bailly to turn into his own net, then Liverpool wouldn’t have had a goal at all. It was a frustrating game where our attackers got shut down a lot but Mané did his part to ensure that Liverpool didn’t turn up without claiming at least a single goal.
Watford at home.
Liverpool continue their Premier League season for a while. The Champions League Quarter Finals draw will happen within the next week, so we can only keep playing and wait to find out who we’ll have in that tournament eventually. Just staying focused on the Premier League for a bit should see us settle after the United defeat. It’s been rare for Liverpool to lose this season though so don’t worry, Reds.
Walk on with hope in your hearts, Anfield Family. You’ll Never Walk Alone.
[written by] Stuart Drewery.
I’m an Englishman (born and raised in Liverpool in the 80s). My whole family including my parents and grandparents were Liverpool fans so I was born into being a red.
I’ve seen Liverpool win the league (more than 25 years ago) and I’ve been 100% loyal and committed while supporting the Reds through all the good times AND the bad times since the 80s.