Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United: 5 Talking Points and Tactical Analysis
Liverpool hosted their eternal rivals at Anfield on Sunday with a win guaranteeing them a return to the perch of the table. The Reds turned on the style and produced an exhilarating display of attacking football to leave Manchester United in their wake.
Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the 24th minute after he was found perfectly by Fabinho. However, a blooper from Alisson nine minutes later handed the away side a lifeline.
Yet, Liverpool stuck to their attacking guns and out-gunned the Red Devils in the second half with Shaqiri coming off the bench and getting on the score-sheet in the 73rd and 80th minute.
With the 3-1 victory, Liverpool reclaimed their place at the top while it left United 11 points off the top four.
Here is a look at five talking points from the game:
#5 Liverpool had answers to every Manchester United question
Manchester United lined up in a 3-4-3 formation with Dalot and Young operating as wing-backs. Over the course of the season, Liverpool’s fullbacks have had a profound impact on matches and thus, Jose’s ploy to switch to a back three made tactical sense.
Though Liverpool didn’t get a lot of joy on the flanks in the first half, they bossed the middle of the park. Jose had certainly gotten it right when it came to nullifying Liverpool’s full-backs yet he hadn’t prepared for an unlikely creative source in Fabinho.
The three at the back meant that Liverpool always had a spare man in midfield and Fabinho profited immensely. Time and again, he was accorded the space to pick a pass and he eventually did so with a perfectly-weighted clipped through ball for Mane to fire home.
Thus, at half-time, Jose decided to switch to a back four in order to crowd the midfield. However, Liverpool had an answer to this as well. With the extra player now patrolling the middle third, the Reds’ full-backs bombed forward with glee. Robertson and Clyne were a constant menace down the flanks. Moreover, Lingard and Rashford’s lack of defensive nous led to the United rear-guard getting outnumbered too often.
Through the course of the game, Jose tried his best to outsmart Klopp and Liverpool. Yet, the Reds just had a counter to everything Manchester United threw at them.
If Liverpool hadn’t laid down a marker earlier, this win has certainly done that. The champion teams always portray tactical flexibility and Liverpool showed plenty of it at Anfield.
Could this finally be their year? Well, only time will tell.