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Manchester United 0-0 Liverpool: 5 Talking Points, Premier League 2018-19

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Top 5 / Top 10
6.84K   //    24 Feb 2019, 23:36 IST

Alisson Becker made a big save to deny Jesse Lingard in the first half
Alisson Becker made a big save to deny Jesse Lingard in the first half

You might as well have had an ambulance at the ready in the first half at Old Trafford. No less than four substitutions were made. And there were a couple of players on the pitch who were walking wounded.

In the end though, it was a game bereft of quality, and Liverpool dropped two more points, even as they went top of the table. Their lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League is now as slim as it could be. Well, it quite literally is - one point.

Manchester United dropped down a spot, to 5th, as Arsenal leapfrogged them following their win over Southampton.

Here are the major points of discussion from the game.


#5 The Theatre of the wounded

First, Marcus Rashford pulled up, after Jordan Henderson caught him in the ankle. While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United were focusing their attention on the health of their X-Factor, they had to quickly shift to the hamstrings of their two Spaniards - as Ander Herrera and Juan Mata pulled up.

Solskjaer brought on Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard, but his peace was to live for a very short period of time. Lingard pulled up with his hamstring again, as it looked obvious that he was nowhere near full fitness following the injury he picked up against PSG.

Alexis Sanchez came on to replace Lingard, as Solskjaer was forced to use all his changes before the half-time whistle.

For good measure, the injury Gods ensured that United didn't really feel left out. Roberto Firmino rolled his ankle midway through the half, and Jurgen Klopp was forced to bring on Daniel Sturridge as the replacement.

As a result, there was never really any possibility for either side to build a sustained head of steam in the first half. It was far too stop-start, and that could not have been of help to either of the sides.

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One could also talk about Solskjaer's lack of experience in this case, as he took a humongous risk by bringing on Lingard. Before the game, the Norwegian himself admitted there was no way that Lingard was ready to play the 90 minutes, yet he brought him on with 65 minutes to play.

There was an option for Solskjaer to replace Mata with Alexis, who eventually came on to replace Lingard. On reflection, the United manager might think that he got that one wrong, and in the bigger picture, he should be concerned about how much longer he loses Lingard for.

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