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5 elements that destroyed Liverpool vs Manchester United

Mark Pitman
SENIOR ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
5.92K   //    17 Oct 2017, 00:14 IST

Liverpool v Manchester United - Premier League
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho encourages from the Anfield sidelines on Saturday

It is not unusual in the Premier League for such games between the biggest clubs to be over-hyped to a level that leads to inevitable disappointment, but a game that promised so much on Saturday produced so little, and we probably weren't that surprised.

Manchester United have been scoring for fun this season, while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been forced to repeatedly answer questions over his leaky defence. But arriving at Anfield on a day when the home club were paying homage to the great Kenny Dalglish suggested Mourinho would be in a destructive, rather than creative, mindset.

And the moody Portuguese boss frustrated us by not disappointing us in that respect, and set his team up to frustrate and restrict their opponents instead of playing to the attacking strengths that had helped them keep pace with noisy neighbours Manchester City. A smug Mourinho left with a point and clean sheet, content in the knowledge that he had spoilt the party for his own gain.

So why was this famous fixture such a flop this time around? Mourinho was vilified for his approach in the media the following morning, but there was more to it than just his negativity, and the different elements that make up this latest disappointment suggest that the great games between these two clubs in the past may sadly never be repeated.



#5 The dictation of TV


Sky Sports TV cameraman filming
Television is king when it comes to dictating Premier League matters

An early kick-off on the Saturday after an international break was hardly the perfect time to play a game of such magnitude, and it was a concern voiced by Jurgen Klopp in his pre-match press conference. Both managers had players returning from across the world just a couple of days before the game, and limited time to work with naturally fatigued individuals was never likely to be a successful combination.

But clubs are happy to take their share of the television money when it comes around, and for that, they have to dance to the tune of their paymasters. With the match attracting millions of viewers from around the world, this was a prime marketing product, and if those in charge had decided on kicking-off at midnight then that is what it would be.

How much of an impact this factor actually had on the game, in reality, is debatable, but there is no doubt that the modern-day Premier League player is a finely-tuned athlete, and any break in rhythm or routine is unlikely to have a positive impact on their performance.

In addition, raising such concerns in public like Klopp did will plant a negative seed in the mind of the players, and if the players hear that their schedule will make it difficult for them they will eventually start to believe it. It is a criticism that has been launched at the managers of all the top Premier League clubs this season, as if they are in some sort of pack to force an eventual winter break, perish the thought.

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Mark Pitman
SENIOR ANALYST
Freelance football reporter, columnist and journalist with extensive experience writing for a wide range of top level digital platforms and printed publications. I have the privilege of interviewing some of the biggest names in the football world. Views are my own.
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