Liverpool fail to capitalise against injury-hit Manchester United

October 18, 2020

first_imgThere was nothing to separate the two teams on the day (Getty Images)On one of the most highly-anticipated games of the season, Manchester United and Liverpool shared a point after playing out a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.An injury-interrupted game never really got going and in the end, both teams will have accepted that the end result was a just one. Liverpool will have hoped for more but the stalemate takes them a point ahead of Manchester City at the Premier League summit.Here are the key talking points from Old Trafford.Solskjaer sends Sanchez a messageOle Gunnar Solskjaer’s preparations for the game had taken a hit after both Nemanja Matic and Anthony Martial were ruled out on the eve of it and his plans suffered a further dent inside the opening 25 minutes as both Ander Herrera and Juan Mata hobbled away from the action.AdvertisementAdvertisementIt looked at one stage as though the Norwegian would have to use his full complement of substitutes inside the opening half-hour with Marcus Rashford also struggling after receiving a hefty whack to his ankle from England colleague Jordan Henderson. The adrenaline probably got the Mancunian through it.Although chucking Alexis Sanchez on in place of Herrera would have been a ballsy move, switching the Chilean on for the Mata would have been a more straightforward decision. Instead, Solskjaer called upon a half-fit Jesse Lingard to plug the gap – a rather damning indictment of Sanchez’s current standing in the pecking order. 3 – Manchester United are the first team to make three substitutions in the first half of a Premier League game since Burnley in January 2015 vs Newcastle United. Ailing. #MUNLIV pic.twitter.com/tjWhNuxLMy— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 24, 2019 Jurgen Klopp cut a frustrated figure throughout the game at Old Trafford (Getty Images)A draw against Old Trafford must never be taken for granted, of course, particularly given the exhilarating form United have been in under their interim manager, yet given all of the problems the hosts faced in the build-up and during the game itself, this was a huge opportunity for Liverpool to lay down a marker and get a massive victory.AdvertisementInstead, they offered a damp squib of a performance, failing to test David De Gea with anything of note and struggling to dominate against an opponent whose match plans were thrown into disarray in the first half and who virtually played the entire second half a man light due to Rashford’s restrictive injury.Liverpool may yet end their long wait for a Premier League title come what May but their recent wobble has thrown up valid question marks over their temperament and ability to overcome that mental hurdle and get over the line.A reaction against in-form Watford on Wednesday is most certainly required.More: Manchester United FCRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starNew Manchester United signing Facundo Pellistri responds to Edinson Cavani praiseEx-Man Utd coach blasts Ed Woodward for two key transfer errors Oliver Young-MylesSunday 24 Feb 2019 4:15 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link66Shares Liverpool fail to capitalise against injury-hit Manchester United When Lingard himself had to come off shortly after being brilliantly thwarted by Alisson as he tried to round the Brazilian, Solskjaer had virtually no option to turn to Sanchez. Had one of Diogo Dalot, Eric Bailly or Fred been preferred in that scenario the obituaries of Sanchez’s career would undoubtedly have started to have been written.One of Solskjaer’s biggest accomplishments since assuming the reigns at Old Trafford has been to resurrect the form of Paul Pogba, Martial and Rashford yet Sanchez has been the exception to the rule. A goal against former club Arsenal aside, he has continued to be a colossal disappointment in a United shirt under new management.In fairness to United’s No.7, the circumstances weren’t there for him to make much of an impact today. Solskjaer re-jigged his side at the interval with United set-up in a defensive 4-5-1 shape with Sanchez virtually playing as a second left-back. Still, it was another game in which he failed to make an impact and the clock is ticking on his United career.Subdued Salah subbed offIn the opening minutes of the game, Mohamed Salah danced away from his opposite man Luke Shaw in a piece of play that made you worry it could be a long afternoon for the United left-back. That was as good as it got for Salah, though, as yet again he struggled to exert any influence in a big game.The Egyptian failed to score or provide an assist for the seventh time in eight games against top-six opponents this season. Furthermore, his only strike against one of Liverpool’s direct rivals came from the penalty spot against Arsenal in December.After smashing records galore during his first season in a Liverpool shirt, Salah was always going to become a marked man in his second campaign making things more difficult for him to have quite the same remarkable impact as before.center_img Advertisement Mohamed Salah had a dreadful afternoon at Old Trafford (Getty Images)Being doubled up on by opponents hasn’t stopped Salah smashing goals in against lesser opponents as a record of 17 league goals already demonstrates, yet in the bigger games against the cream of the crop, he is undoubtedly finding it difficult.AdvertisementAdvertisementNothing came off for Salah on the day. His touch deserted him, his decision-making was all over the place and he failed to register a single shot on target or create a chance during his time on the pitch. With Liverpool chasing a winner, it was Salah who made way for Divock Origi. Such a scenario would have been unthinkable last season.Shaw was excellent, winning the man of the match award for his efforts in stifling Salah, yet he isn’t the first left-back to do so this term. Liverpool have not been at their best for a number of weeks now and they will need their ‘Egyptian King’ to rediscover his mojo quickly if they are to get their title challenge back on track.More: FootballRio Ferdinand urges Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to drop Manchester United starChelsea defender Fikayo Tomori reveals why he made U-turn over transfer deadline day moveMikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man CityLiverpool show title nerves againHaving not won a top-flight title since 1990, the big question on everyone’s lips has been can Liverpool handle the pressure of being Premier League title favourites?During the first half of the season, there were no signs of nerves as Liverpool racked up victories and clean sheets for fun en route to opening up a seven-point gap over their nearest challengers Manchester City.As the season has progressed, though, Liverpool have looked far less assured, dropping points against Leicester City and West Ham to allow City back in. The swashbuckling football has subsided of late, making way for a series of nervy performances. Advertisement Commentlast_img

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