Liverpool hosted, local Northwest rivals, Manchester United this Sunday afternoon and came out clear winners. The game ended 3-1 in favor of the hosts and in the words of Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho, “Liverpool physically dominated us over the 90 minutes”.
There were a lot of talking points over the game, which we’ll dissect to give you a proper detailed view into the match.
The Lineup and Gameplay:-
After not picking up a league win against Manchester United since taking charge, the pressure was on Jurgen Klopp to deliver especially if they were to reclaim top spot in the Premiere League table ahead of Manchester City.
To the relief of many Jurgen Klopp delivered through his midfield. It was pretty predictable that Jose Mourinho’s side would sit deep and play on the counter. He had fielded five defenders and two defensive midfielders in an attempt to take something away from Anfield. To counter this deep defense and midfield, Jurgen Klopp had his midfield players lob the ball over the defense into the space between the back five and David De Gea. Fabinho, Keita and Wijnaldum constantly attempted to lob the ball out wide to Clyne, Robertson or straight through to one of the front three.
Finally in the 24thminute, Fabinho’s perfectly lofted pass found Mane, who despite missing chances midweek, controlled the ball with his chest and slotted the ball past a helpless DDG.
Later on in thhe 69thminute Klopp pulled off a masterstroke by bringing on Shaqiri and exploiting the spaces left open by Manchester United’s low block. By the end of the 90, Liverpool had 36 attempts compared to United’s 6. On another day this could’ve turned out really bad for Jose Mourinho’s side.
The takeaway would be that Klopp has finally learnt to make use of his substitutes and is no longer afraid in making a change. If it continues like this the Liverpool bench could become an insane weapon in this formidable title race.
Fabinho had his best game in Liverpool Jersey vs Manchester United as he starred in single anchor position. He produced the following stats in what was a fabulous evening for the Brazilian.
Minutes played: 90
Accurate passes: 52 (78,8%)
Key passes: 2
Dribble attempts (successful): 3 (3)
Duels (Won): 12 (7)
A couple of weeks ago news broke that Klopp and his fitness team have put Fabinho through a programe to develop core and leg strength without packing on additional muscle in an attempt to make him more agile. It seems to be working perfectly. Fabinho was fast, agile, and amazing with and without the ball at his feet. He’s the kind of player Liverpool have needed to shield the defense for years now. His movement and accuracy of forward passes gets the players around him moving and he always seems to initiate a forward move. He ended up pocketing the Carlsberg MOTM award as well.
It was well worth the wait to see him finally excel in the no.6 position. At the mere age of 25, Liverpool fans can be assured with time Fabinho will make the DM position his for many years to come.
The Title Charge is real :-
If there was any doubt before, there shouldn’t be any now. Liverpool are here to mount a serious title challenge to Guardiola and his men. Jurgen Klopp’s men have now produced Liverpool’s best start to a PL campaign ever in the club’s history. The reds find themselves unbeaten having played 17 games this season. Jurgen Klopp has matured, the squad has improved in term’s of quality and depth and the supporters have truly changed from doubters to believers.
Gifted United their goal with a costly error but otherwise had an easy game.
Nathaniel Clyne:- (7/10)
Despite his lack of game time Clyne came in when called upon and delivered. Hope this is the start of a recovery for the once forgotten RB.
Dejan Lovren:- (7/10)
Lovren had a good game, but could’ve done better to block Lukaku’s cross.
Virgil van Dijk: – (7/10)
Sunday was a relatively easier shift for the big Dutchman. Absolutely bullied Lukaku or the 90. LFC have never lost a game which VVD has captained.
Andy Robertson:- (9/10)
Andy Robertson completely annihilated United’s Left flank and left Jose Mourinho “tired” merely through his sprints. Showed once again why he’s the best LB in the league if not the world
Georginio Wijnaldum:- (7/10)
Wijnaldum was great pushing the play forward and was very vocal in midfield. The past few weeks have shown he can be played anywhere across midfield. A very handy weapon for Jurgen to have in his arsenal.
Fabinho had an amazing game and delivered a MOTM performance. Along with picking up an assist he was quick to close down nay passing lanes Lingard or Mata may have exploited.
Naby Keïta:- (6/10)
Naby keita looked sharp going forward but after the initial 20-30 minutes he just looked lost. Was clueless in terms of movement. Nothing that can’t be fixed with time.
Mohamed Salah:- (7/10)
Salah went unnoticed under the radar but was crucial in drawing United’s defense out and creating space for the rest of the attackers.
Sadio Mané:- (8/10)
Mane finally ended his goal drought with a stellar finish. Hopefully he can get back to his scoring ways now as LFC head into the festive period
Roberto Firmino:- (8/10)
Firmino had his best game this season despite not scoring. He had intricate movements in and around the box and constantly dropped deep in an attempt to play through United’s defensive lines and create space for keita, Salah and Mane.
Xherdan Shaqiri (for Naby Keïta 70):- (8/10)
The Swiss international toyed with United’s midfield and scored twice along the way. Despite both shots being deflected Shaqiri deserves praise for being in the right place at the right time. He was quoted saying “Jurgen told me to exploit the little pockets of space and that’s what I did.” He was awarded the official Premiere League MOTM award by none other than LFC legend Jamie Carragher.