Saturday, April 10, 2021

Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: 5 Talking points as Man United keep hold of the first spot

Manchester United made a trip to Anfield to lock horns with their arch-rivals, Liverpool. The game ended in a 0-0 draw as none of the team was able to break the deadlock.

Manchester United took their points tally to 37 and are still the league leaders. On the other hand, a point for Jurgen Klopp and his men means that they stay at the third position but can drop to the fourth spot if Manchester City wins their game against Crystal Palace tonight.

Here are the 5 talking points from the game:

5. Dull game after all the build-up

The game of the season.’ ‘A possible shift in power.’ ‘A proper football game for neutrals.’ In reality, it was a boring game. Both Liverpool and Manchester United were too cautious to take any risk for large parts of the game.

It seems like the two teams had the same plans of taking the game deep till the hour-mark and then look to score goals. Liverpool was too frustrating upfront and Man United just not had the incisiveness they had shown during counter-attacks. 

Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: 5 Talking points as Man United keep hold of the first spot

The home side was dominant in the first half. They had most of the ball and were looking to create something. But United’s astute defending forced them to take the shots from distance which ended up nowhere near De Gea’s goalpost. Man United woke up in the last 20 minutes and pushed for a winner. But, it was too late for the visitors to show any kind of intent.

4. Alisson saving the day for Liverpool 

If not for Alisson, Liverpool’s home record of going 67 games unbeaten would have broken. The Brazillian international proved to be the main difference between Man United and three points.

In the 75th minute of the game, Luke Shaw drilled a low cross which found Bruno Fernandes in the six-yard box. Bruno tapped the ball towards the goal but Alisson’s quick reaction to the shot kept the ball away from the net. 

After 8 more minutes, Paul Pogba collected Aaron Wan Bisaaka’s low cross with a wonderful first touch. But, he went with the power and ended up shooting straight to the body of the big goalkeeper. This was the best chance of the game and possibly, could prove to be a very vital one if United and Liverpool are found fighting for the title in the month of March-April.

3. Time to praise Luke Shaw

Players thrive on competition. Being comfortable is not always a great thing for you and this is what Luke Shaw has shown in the past four weeks. Luke Shaw’s inconsistent performances and his failure to help the team offensively raised doubts over his long-term stay at Old Trafford. Solskjaer signed Alex Telles from FC Porto to infuse some competition for the left-back spot. Now it seems like a perfect decision. 

Since the arrival of Alex Telles, Luke Shaw has raised the bar of his performances. His outing today was just another example of that. The English left-back won 100% of his tackles, had 100% long pass accuracy, won 8 ball recoveries, and made 4 clearances. He didn’t give an inch to Mo Salah to make runs and successfully blocked any space through which he could have taken a shot.

2. Liverpool just can’t score!

We know that Virgil Van Dijk is injured but how is that affecting the form of Firmino, Salah, and Mane? Roberto Firmino had two big half-chances today in each half but he failed to find the back of the net both of the times. It’s been more than 350 minutes when Liverpool has scored a Premier League goal. Their last goal came against West Brom in a 1-1 draw. Since then, they drew 0-0 and lost 1-0 to Newcastle and Southampton respectively. Apart from Diego Jota, every forward player is currently available. There is some issue in the front-line and Klopp needs to solve it as soon as possible.

1. Manchester United stay top, for now

‘For now’ is very pivotal here. Man United has accumulated 37 points in 18 league games to sit at the top of the table. They have a two-point lead over second-placed Leicester City. But, Manchester City’s recent winning run has taken them to 5th position with 32 points.

They still have two games in hand to play. They play Crystal Palace tonight and will clash with Aston Villa in the midweek. If Pep Guardiola and his side win both these games, they will leapfrog United to take the 1st spot at the league table. 


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