Manchester United continue their unbeaten start to the Premier League season, drawing 0-0 away to Liverpool. It was a vintage Mourinho performance, as the Red Devils sat back and shut up shop. Liverpool created more chances, but couldn’t capitalise. United, on the other hand, will take the away point.
Both teams came into the match with injury problems. United were without Pogba, Bailly, Carrick, and Fellaini. Liverpool were also missing key men, as Clyne and Mane were both unavailable for the Merseyside club.
Mourinho, as he tends to do in key away matches, named a more defensive starting XI. Smalling and Jones were the centre-back partnership, while Darmain and Valencia played as the two wing-backs. Ashley Young was given the start at right wing, as his big game experience and ability to track back were some of the reasons why.
Mourinho’s gameplan was clear from opening kick-off. Liverpool passed the ball around, as United sat back, leaving no space in behind.
Wijnaldum had the first chance of the match, as he found himself in space at the top of the box. He was forced onto his weaker left foot, and his shot was easily saved by De Gea.
Lukaku became frustrated due to a lack of service, and took it out on Joe Gomez. The Liverpool defender nutmegged Lukaku, but was immediately trucked down as a result. The Belgian striker was lucky to not have been booked.
David De Gea then reminded everyone watching that he is the best goalkeeper in the world. A driven cross from Firmino found Matip unmarked in the penalty area. However, the defenders shot was miraculously saved by De Gea, who was just able to get his left foot out to block it away.
United began to gain some momentum, and almost grabbed a goal as a result. Lukaku found Martial, and a quick give and go put the Belgian through on goal. He was swamped by defenders, and couldn’t get his shot past Mignolet.
United almost had a disastrous start to the second-half. Phil Jones carelessly gave the ball away to Coutinho, who drove forward. However, to the relief of United fans, his cross to Firmino was called back for offside.
Firmino looked to have been through on goal at one point, but he was correctly ruled offside.
Darmian, an Italian international and first team player for one of the biggest clubs in world football, then committed a foul throw in.
Liverpool piled on the pressure, and should’ve taken the lead. A bursting run into the middle from Emre Can split the United defence, but the German couldn’t keep his volley on target. It was the best chance of the game for either team at that point.
Liverpool could have been awarded a penalty soon after. Coutinho dribbled into the penalty area, and Herrera’s mistimed tackle clipped the heels of the Brazilian. Coutinho went down to the cries of the Anfield crowd, but no penalty was called.
Mourinho made two quick substitutions to try and halt Liverpool’s momentum. Rashford and Lingard came on for Martial and Mkhitaryan.
Liverpool kept on the pressure and created another great chance. Coutinho received the ball on the left-wing, and lobbed a lovely cross to the back post. It just went over the head of Salah, keeping the game at 0-0.
Liverpool had a late chance, when Lovren jumped highest to win a header from a corner. However, he couldn’t keep the header on target.
United did well to grab a point in a tough away fixture, but fans will be disappointed in how defensively the team played.
United’s next match is on Wednesday in the Champions League away to Benfica.