The match failed to live up to the expectations.
A much-anticipated clash which ended with disappointment for both sets of fans. Both teams suffered from some injuries which slowed down the game and in the end both managers were considering themselves lucky to have come out with one point from the game.
Jurgen Klopp’s men reclaimed the first position as they begin their hectic schedule for the next seven days. Liverpool had 65% possession but had only one shot on target as De Gea was a completely free man today. This was the first time this season that Liverpool failed to score in an away match. Alisson came to Liverpool’s rescue just before half-time when he prevented Lingard from rounding him off and give United a much-needed lead.
Fabinho shone in a new role to the one he played against Bayern Munich in mid-week. His positional play and composure were enough for Liverpool to get control over Pogba who rarely had the freedom to create anything in this match.
Here are the three reasons why Liverpool failed to win the match
#1. Salah’s struggle
Salah failed to find the net in a big game once again
The fact that Salah was substituted with more than 10 minutes to play shows how ineffective the striker was today. He is the top goal scorer of the league but he failed to trouble the United defense today. He was marked very well by Luke Shaw in the wider areas and the center backs in the middle. His first-half free-kick was also off target and his miserable outing continued throughout the match.
Liverpool, who have had players like Suarez and Torres raising their game for the United encounter, it was frustrating to see their top scorer misfire. Klopp would still hope that the reminder has come at the right time and Salah will improve for the most important phase of the season coming up.
#2 Squad Depth
Sturridge failed to create chances for Liverpool.
Liverpool are too dependent on the front three and it showed today. Firmino’s injury in the first half didn’t help. The options Liverpool has from the bench are good players but they always lack match practice and so goals from the midfield are very important which Liverpool is failing to get from its current players.
Also, the fact that Liverpool midfielders are more of a runner rather than creators puts too much pressure on the front three. Wijnaldum, Henderson, and Fabinho are all good at occupying a major part of the field and showing control over the ball, but unlike David Silva, Eriksen, they fail to create many chances for the team so when the front three don’t fire the team is in trouble. Chamberlain’s injury and Lallana’s dipping form has not helped as both of them are seen as a goal threat compared to the current midfielders. Sadio Mane was also at his worst form today.
#3 Firmino’s injury
Firmino’s injury hampered Liverpool’s chances.
Firmino injured his right ankle during the first half of the stalemate. He had to leave Old Trafford on crutches. He was substituted in the 31st minute and Liverpool didn’t look like the same team it was till that time. There was no understanding among Salah, Mane, and Sturridge after Firmino left the field.
There was a dip in the performance levels as Firmino is seen as the receiver in this Liverpool team. He collects the ball and then sprays it wide for Salah and Mane to have a run at the opposition. Liverpool missed it dearly throughout the match.
Firmino has taken part in all 36 games that Liverpool have played this season and his injury is a major concern for Klopp going into the busy end of the season. Next up for Liverpool is Watford at home and then Everton away. The title race is still in Liverpool’s hands but dropping points regularly will soon take its toll on their title chances.