Manchester United lifted the spirits that had been downcast around manager Erik ten Hag by securing a valuable point against Liverpool at Anfield.
In a less than satisfying match, United managed to halt the negative trend after a heavy home defeat to Bournemouth and a Champions League exit sealed by Bayern Munich at Old Trafford.
Although this wasn’t a classic performance from the injury-hit United, who even lost Diogo Dalot to a red card in stoppage time for dissent, Ten Hag had reasons to be much happier than Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, whose side missed an opportunity to return to the top of the Premier League.
United goalkeeper Andre Onana made a fine save in the first half from Virgil van Dijk’s shot, while Rasmus Hojlund had the visitors’ best chance in the second half, but his shot was blocked by Liverpool’s Alisson near the goal.
Liverpool dominated possession but often lacked effectiveness and had to settle for a point, not enough to surpass Arsenal, who earlier won against Brighton and climbed to the top of the table.
Liverpool Falters on Anfield’s Big Day
It was a historic day at Liverpool’s famous old stadium as the new top deck of the Anfield Road Stand was used for the first time.
This made the attendance of 57,158 the largest for any Liverpool home game since the FA Cup tie against Burnley in February 1963 and the third largest in their league history.
However, the match did not live up to this historic occasion.
Nine months after Liverpool crushed United with a 7-0 victory at Anfield, The Red Devils never looked likely to repeat such devastation.
Liverpool entered this encounter with their arch-rivals as overwhelming favorites after rising to the top of the table and United’s own struggles. However, the reaction at the final whistle indicated that these were two lost points for Klopp’s team rather than one gained.
The hosts came out at lightning speed, clearly determined to shatter United’s fragile confidence, but they lost momentum, turning the match into an undistinguished, scrappy game, almost devoid of real quality.
Liverpool’s 69% possession was reflected in 34 shots, but too much of their work was inaccurate, laborious, and kept out by a solid United defense.
And there was no late show to snatch victory, a trademark of Liverpool in a season that brought victories but only occasionally saw Klopp’s men reach great heights.
Even Mohamed Salah couldn’t produce magic, and when the big moment came late on, substitute Cody Gakpo headed over when unmarked.
United Shows Fighting Spirit
The odds were heavily stacked against United as they arrived at Anfield amid recent harsh criticism, tasked with facing a Liverpool team that started the day at the top of the Premier League and had handed out a historic thrashing here last season.z z z z z z z z z
United had to survive an early Liverpool onslaught, and while they were short on creativity and thankful for the home side’s disappointing work in front of goal, the visitors deserved credit for digging deep with a defensive display of real vigor.
Although Harry Maguire was absent after being injured against Bayern, there was much to be admired about how United were willing to throw bodies in front of everything to halt Liverpool, and goalkeeper Onana dealt with everything that came his way.
While United could be satisfied with a point in these circumstances, they will also be aware that striker Hojlund had a big opportunity in front of the Kop in the second half, only to shoot straight at Alisson.
However, given the difficult circumstances, United will accept this result.