Premier League 2018-19: 3 Reasons why Manchester United lost against Liverpool
Liverpool re-take their spot at the summit of the table after defeating Manchester United for the first time at Anfield in over 5 years. This was the 201st meeting between these two rivals, and United were set up in a very negative manner to begin the game with, letting Liverpool play their natural game whilst trying to break on the counter.
United had a mere 36% possession for the entirety of the game, taking only 6 shots on Liverpool's goal, whilst the Anfield giants attempted for goal a whopping 36 times on the night, finding their way past De Gea on 3 occasions.
Liverpool never looked out of control for the entirety of the game and harried Manchester United's midfield and defense. They received their reward at the 24th-minute mark, as Ashley Young slid in at Mo Salah's feet, allowing Liverpool a throw near the United box. Andy Robertson passed the ball to Fabinho, who in turn lofted a superb ball in the path of Sadio Mane, who brought it down with his chest and placed a left-footed finish past the helpless De Gea.
United equalized at the 33rd minute after a mistake from Liverpool hero Allison, who spilled Lukaku's shot/cross straight into the path of an onrushing Jesse Lingard, who made no mistake in slotting the ball up and over the flailing Brazilian and into the back of the net. That goal took the bite out of the contest and certainly shushed the Anfield faithful, and Mourinho's men finally looked like they might have an in on the game.
Liverpool came out roaring in the second half, and De Gea made a terrific stop off of a beautiful Fabinho effort near the 50th minute. Fellaini was introduced at the break to beef up the midfield which was overrun, to say the least, in the first half, allowing Andy Robertson to attack more often than in the first half.
United did a better job of actually pressing Liverpool out of their own box into safer zones, but it was still all red dominance. Xherdan Shaqiri was brought on by Klopp for Naby Keita, and had an almost instant impact, slotting home the rebound from De Gea's save off of Mane's cross. He added another 8 minutes later, via another deflection, slotting the ball past De Gea after the ball took a wicked deflection off of a stretching Eric Bailly. Here are 3 reasons why Manchester United lost.
#1 The team wasn't set up to win
Manchester United was set up in a very negative way, to say the least, starting 5 defenders and with no truly creative presence in the middle of the pitch, allowing Liverpool full control of proceedings whilst waiting for them to slip up and leave gaps at the back to exploit.
That should not be the approach of a team that hasn't been beaten in this fixture at this ground for more than 5 years, but Mourinho chose to bench the likes of Juan Mata, Paul Pogba and Anthony Martial in favor of Diogo Dalot, Matteo Darmian and Marcus Rashford. The result, at least for me, isn't a shocker. United fans should be lucky the scoreline wasn't worse.