5 reasons why Liverpool vs Manchester United ended in a goalless draw
The much talked about high-octane clash between Liverpool and Manchester United ended in a goalless draw. This was only the second time in Premier League history (after September 2005) that a meeting between the two sides failed to produce a goal.
Jurgen Klopp was unhappy with United's style of play and later said, “We knew there would be a lot of high balls, and it was difficult to defend with Fellaini and Pogba there with Ibrahimovic.
"It was one thing they wanted to do for sure, and being a very physical strong team was another. Ok, they may be a little bit better stronger physically than we were.”
Mourinho, however, insisted that they had controlled the game.
"I think it was a very difficult game for us and for them, but I think it was more difficult for them than for us. We kept control of the game for long periods," he told Sky Sports.
"We tried to start really strong in both halves, but they are a good team. They are not the last wonder of the world like you [the media] say they are, but they are a very good team, so we needed to adapt to that."
A defensive masterclass
Much of the talk ahead of the anticipated Liverpool versus Manchester United clash was about how United could stem the characteristic free-flowing style of Klopp. Under him, the Liverpool has adopted an attractive, intense style stamped with Klopp's penchant for high energy levels, quick passing and gegenpressing.
United seemed to have come to Anfield with a definite plan as they took the game to the hosts in the first few minutes. Surprisingly, they pressed high in the initial minutes and closed down spaces very fast to make life difficult for Liverpool to settle into their free-flowing style.
But as Liverpool grew into the game with wave after wave of attack, United stayed very compact in defence and were quick to close gaps for the attacking midfielders. Eric Bailey had another commanding performance while Chris Smalling, his partner in central defence, who also donned the captain's armband and carried out his responsibilities well.
Blind played more as a conventional third central defender on the left with Ashley Young being deployed on the flank mainly because of his defensive prowess. And the outstanding tackle on Roberto Firmino by Antonio Valencia in the second half might well have been a match-saving one.