Liverpool 3 – 1 Manchester United: Player Ratings and Talking Points

Merry Christmas Mourinho

A visit from Manchester United is always a nervy affair, especially considering it’s been quite a while since we’ve beaten them in the League. That stat would make some believe that United have been dominating us when in fact, it’s been quite the opposite. They’ve just been stubborn and lucky with their deep defending and counter-attacks.

The injuries we suffered before the game suggested that a similar result was on the cards, and after Alisson’s mistake, it felt like déjà vu. The Reds dug deep though and refused to allow Mourinho’s men to knick another undeserved result.

Shaqiri was the hero in the end, scoring two goals to secure a 3-1 victory for the Reds. Mane gave the home side the lead after some wonderful link-up play before Super Shaq got on the right side of two deflections and sealed a deserved win.

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo

Player Ratings

Alisson – 5.5

It’s just Liverpool’s luck that even when we finally land a top class ‘keeper, he still makes the odd howler. In fairness to Alisson, he was pretty unfortunate because although he slightly bobbled the catch, he would’ve secured it once he landed on the ground. In this instance though, his own knee knocked the ball loose and right into the path of Jesse Lingard.

Thankfully it didn’t matter in the end because his team bailed him out at the other end, which was a nice touch after Alisson bailed them out plenty of times, particularly against Napoli. He didn’t seem too phased by the mistake and finished the game well, especially with his quick and precise distribution.

Nathaniel Clyne – 8

Who can honestly say they weren’t even a little bit nervous to see Clyne’s name on the team sheet lining up against Marcus Rashford? Furthermore, who truly believed he’d have an outstanding game? I certainly didn’t, but I was extremely pleased to have been proven wrong.

He did fatigue badly as the game went on, but that’s to be expected from a player who’s played so little football in the last few years. He overlapped Mane well all game, even when his runs were ignored. He wasn’t able to do too much with the ball, but his defending was absolutely spot on.

Dejan Lovren – 7

Lovren was solid, no more, no less. Aside from a couple of moments, he rarely allowed his man to get the better of him, and he looked composed on the ball without being too potent.

He might’ve done better when he swung clumsily at a loose ball that could’ve put the score to 2-0, but it’s difficult to expect a centre-back to keep a cool head in the opposition’s box. Whatever your thoughts are on the player, we need badly need him until Gomez and Matip are back.

Virgil van Dijk – 9

VVD’s the best in the League, if not the world right now. It’s so refreshing to have a defender who combines composure and commanding leadership so seamlessly with pure talent and ability. There were so many times that he was under pressure at the back, but made a tricky turn and pass look easy.

Romelu Lukaku had fewer touches of the ball in 90 minutes than Shaqiri had in about 20, and that’s largely down to the fact that van Dijk didn’t let the Belgian out of his back pocket all night.

Andy Robertson – 8.5

Robbo was tireless again, but I have to lower his mark slightly due to the corner fiasco. He’s an inspirational lad and never shies away from a big game or a big performance. Aside from the corners, you know you’ve had a good game when misery guts Moaninho singles you out for praise.

The United manager said, “I am still tired just from looking at (Andy) Robertson! He makes 100-metre sprints every minute – absolutely incredible.” It sounds like Mourinho knows how big the gap between the two sides is.

2018 EPL Premier League Football Liverpool v Man Utd Dec 16th : News Photo

Fabinho – 9.5 (Man of the Match)

There were a few grumbles around the stadium during the first few minutes because Fab kept misplacing his passes. It seemed at first that the occasion was getting to him. How wrong we were! Fab was phenomenal for the rest of the game, winning tackles, creating chances, and threatening with long shots. It was a truly complete performance.

His pass over the top to Mane was inch-perfect. He lobbed it beyond the defence and dropped it right onto the chest of Mane. If Fab can build on these kinds of performances, he’ll become the best holding midfielder the club’s seen in the Premier League era.

Gini Wijnaldum – 7.5

Gini was very tidy against the Mancs, never gifting them any easy possession by giving the ball away. Even when it looked like he was running down a blind alley, he was still able to wriggle his way out.

He wasn’t exactly dominant, and he’ll have to face more resilient midfield units this season, but games like these are becoming the benchmark for Gini lately. His ‘worst day’ isn’t nearly as bad or frequent as it used to be.

Naby Keita – 6.5

It was a mixed bag for Keita on a night when he really could’ve taken the game by the scruff of the neck and exploited United’s weaker midfield and dicey defence.

He wasn’t bad. It’s just with his recent form and the fact that he was rested specifically for this game, you’d expect more. He was always nearly producing something, and a put in a good shift defensively, but ultimately, he wasn’t quite good enough. In fairness, he’s still not started many matches and has been forced to play a different role almost every single game.

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo

Mo Salah – 7

This was Salah’s worst performance for a few weeks now after going on a run of goals and good performances. He didn’t let the team down by any means of course, he just wasn’t as influential as he could’ve been.

Even on an average night, he was able to cause panic in United’s defensive ranks, but his decision making in the box let him down far too often, and he even managed to leave the ball behind during one counter-attack.

Sadio Mane – 8.5

Some have argued that Mane didn’t have a great game against United, but even though he might’ve given the ball away a few too many times, he still scored a cracking goal from a perfect touch and finish, and then set-up the second with some sublime dribbling.

He looked knackered in the second half, which may explain why he so casually gave the ball away frequently as the game went on. Klopp probably should’ve subbed him far sooner than he did.

Bobby Firmino – 8.5

Bobby’s getting there. His class and creativity were on show against United, and although he didn’t get a goal or assist, he created plenty of half chances with his passing and shooting, particularly when he dribbled through three United defenders and got an outside of the boot shot away.

Maybe it was just me being paranoid, but I thought I saw him rubbing his eye a couple of times during the game. I hope that he’s not still suffering from that horrific eye poke he received weeks ago.

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo

Subs

Xherdan Shaqiri – (on for Keita 70′) 10

Shaq was worth every penny. Of course both goals had more than a touch of luck about them, but you create your own good fortune when you get yourself as involved as Shaq did. What a confidence booster for himself and the rest of the team.

Jordan Henderson – (on for Mane 83′) N/A

Hendo’s only involvement was firing over on his weak foot after some good linkup play.

Unused Subs

Simon Mignolet, Alberto Moreno, Rafa Camacho, Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge.

Manager

Jurgen Klopp – 9

Klopp got his team selection spot on again. What a gamble it was to bring Clyne back into the starting lineup after so much time on the sidelines, particularly in such a big game. Once again though, his gamble paid off.

Klopp said, “Nathaniel Clyne, first [league] game of the season. Brilliant, [he] adapted to the style after being not involved. Outstanding. All the boys worked so hard after Tuesday’s game. Now we have to carry on.”

This fixture has been somewhat of a bogey for Klopp since he’s arrived, and more often than not, Mourinho’s gotten the better of him. Sometimes it’s been down to luck, but often the wily Portuguese manager as simply gotten the better of the German tactically, that wasn’t the case this time though. It was Mourinho who was forced to dictate his game around Klopp this time as the former had clearly set his team up to be more aggressive than usual, but Klopp’s tactics forced United to retreat back into their boring, defensive shells.

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League : News Photo

Talking Points

Mind the Gap

Liverpool are now a whopping 19 points clear of Manchester United, but points aren’t the only way to measure the immense gulf between the two sides. Liverpool haven’t won anything under Klopp, but the strides that the club have made in that short space of time are virtually unparalleled.

United have done the complete opposite. It’s rare that you see such a great team fall so far so quickly, but that’s what’s happened at Old Trafford. The style of football is the antithesis of what you’d expect from a United side, and some of the stats from the game were telling.

Liverpool had 36 shots and 65% possession to United’s 6 shots and 35% possession. Incredibly, every single one of Liverpool’s outfield players, including the subs, had at least one shot against United. These are the kinds of stats you’d expect from a relegation side, not Manchester United. Surely Mourinho’s got to go soon.

Corner Comedy

Aside from perhaps Keita and Salah not quite being at the races, the only negative to take out of the game was the absolute comedy of errors that was Liverpool’s corners. Just about everyone had a crack at some point or another, but not one of them could clear the man at the front post.

At one point, Salah mercifully took over from Robbo who’d been copping it for hardly getting the ball off of the ground, but when the Egyptian stepped up, he did practically the same thing! In hindsight, it was quite funny, but only because we won in the end.

A team as good as ours shouldn’t be wasting any opportunities, certainly not from set-pieces considering we have a handful of players who are very good in the air. We’re doing ourselves a disservice every time the ball isn’t delivered into a dangerous area. Klopp needs the players to do more work on the training ground to get the corners right.

Back on Top

The win saw Liverpool return to the top of the table after Everton put in a fairly limp performance to gift Manchester City an easy win to put them two points clear.

Liverpool play first next week though, so a win against Wolves will see us, at least temporarily, four points ahead at the top of the table. Getting a win at the Molineux won’t be easy though, as this Wolves side are well up for it. Let’s not forget they managed to knick a draw off of City earlier in the season.

Thankfully Liverpool will have a full week to rest up and prepare for the game as opposed to City who take on Leicester in the Carabao Cup midweek before their game against Crystal Palace at the weekend.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog and Fields of Anfield Road – 17/12/2018

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Liverpool vs Manchester United – Premier League Preview

Liverpool take on the old enemy, Manchester United, at Anfield in a crunch game in the Premier League.

This is always one of the most important games of the season, but it takes on extra importance in the context of Liverpool’s hunt for the title, and Mourinho’s efforts to stay in a job.

United’s never an easy game though, and even more than usual, they will be looking to frustrate us.

Liverpool Predicted Lineup and Team News

lineup.png

Liverpool’s injury nightmare continues, at at the moment, it doesn’t feel like we can cope with too much more.

On top of Gomez’s leg break, now Matip is also out for around six weeks with a broken collarbone. I know from personal experience how painful that injury is, so kudos to Matip for playing through it. Trent Alexander-Arnold also has a foot injury, but it’s not thought to be too bad.

Milner has a slight muscle problem, but surely even a half-fit Milner has to play ahead of Clyne at right-back? The rest of the team more or less picks itself aside from the midfield which is always subject to rotation.

Manchester United Predicted Lineup and Team News

lineup (1)

Manchester United have many injury concerns of their own, but many of theirs are thought to be only knocks.

Diogo Dalot, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo, Victor Lindelof, Chris Smalling, Scott McTominay, Anthony Martial, and Alexis Sanchez are all doubts, but I’d expect most of them to be fit and ready for the game.

Most of Mourinho’s decisions will come up top. He surely can’t persevere with Romelu Lukaku any longer as he’s becoming a hindrance. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have a far greater chance of troubling Liverpool.

Pre-Game Analysis

Game plans often go out the window in such emotionally charged games as this one, but there will be some telling indicators on how the game should pan out.

If Mourinho stubbornly leaves out Paul Pogba and Martial or doesn’t give Rashford the freedom to run down the left, then Liverpool will almost certainly win as there is very little that Lukaku can threaten us with that VVD can’t handle.

Liverpool have recently been getting better in attack as well, while United’s defence is uncharacteristically poor for a Mourinho side.

Prediction

For these reasons, I’m far more confident than usual that Liverpool will win the game and go back to the top of the table.

United will try all of their usual tricks of slowing the game down and pumping it long, but this time, it won’t work. Liverpool have got more quality than ever, but crucially, we’re far more tough mentally than we’ve arguably been in decades.

The Reds will brush the Mancs aside with a 3-0 victory, a result that could see Mourinho lose his job.

You’ll Never Walk Alone

Cieren O’Dea

Red Or Dead Liverpool FC Football Blog – 16/12/2018

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Manchester United 2 – 1 Liverpool

Disappointing Defeat for Reds Against the Old Enemy

Liverpool fans were left devastated by the result and poor performance at Old Trafford, as Marcus Rashford and Romelu Lukaku exposed both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Dejan Lovren.

Jose Mourinho, for all of his faults, again demonstrated why he is considered one of the very best managers of his generation as he put on a tactical masterclass.

Both of United’s goals come from route one football that was woefully dealt with by the Liverpool defence, and despite some poor refereeing and a couple of strong penalty shouts, Liverpool have no one to blame but themselves.

Player Ratings

Loris Karius – 6:

Karius could do nothing about either of Rashford’s well-taken goals, and was virtually untested for the rest of the game.

He wanted to come forward for a corner late in the game, but was oddly ushered back by Jurgen Klopp.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 2:

 

In games like these, it’s important to keep context in mind, TAA is a young player who is naturally a midfielder; he also didn’t receive the help he needed from those around him.

However, it is undeniable that his inexperience showed as Rashford targeted him successfully.

Dejan Lovren – 3:

 

Oh dear, he’s back, the old Lovren is back.

Unlike TAA, Lovren is an experienced player in his natural position, and despite spending all week talking about how he was going to manhandle Lukaku, he was embarrassed by the Belgian regularly.

Virgil van Dijk – 4: 

 

VVD didn’t fare much better than his partner, but he did improve and was more comfortable after floundering under United’s initial wave.

He unbelievably missed a free header from only a couple of yards in the first-half, but was better at handling Lukaku; it’s a mystery why Klopp didn’t have him doing this from the start.

Andy Robertson – 6: 

It’s a testament to his form that Mourinho avoided his flank for most of the night.

Robbo couldn’t do anything about the goals and was able to whip in a few dangerous crosses, but no one was alert enough to get on the end of them.

 

Emre Can – 4: 

Despite what some have argued, Can was another who had a poor day at the office.

He was outmuscled by Lukaku and then simply gave up for United’s second goal; he also almost allowed them to score a third when he didn’t track the run of Juan Mata.

James Milner – 6: 

Milner’s tried and worked hard, but he couldn’t do enough to turn the game around for his team.

He looked one of the more likely players to create something as he drove the team forward and kept finding runners with his passes.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 3: 

 

Simply put, the Ox looked lost.

It’s bizarre that a player that had been so influential in the last few weeks could become so anonymous overnight; his constant mishandling of possession drew the fury of Klopp.

Mo Salah – 5: 

 

It’s difficult to criticise the Egyptian after such a fine debut season, and the fact that he was completely marked out of the game.

Mourinho knew that keeping Salah under wraps would be key to winning and both Nemanja Matic and Eric Bailley did just that to perfection.

Sadio Mane – 4:

 

The fact that United focused so heavily on Salah meant that Mane was afforded far more time and space than he normally would against such a defensive team; unfortunately, he did nothing with i1t.

He gave the ball away countless times, and despite an improved second-half, he rarely looked dangerous.

Roberto Firmino – 7 (Man of the Match): 

The best of the worst might be a more accurate description.

Firmino did everything to drag his team over the line, but no one else seemed to show the same desire and fight as the Brazilian.

Subs

Adam Lallana – 5 (on for Oxlade-Chamberlain – 62′): 

 

Lallana is still a long way off from getting back to his best.

He tried hard to unlock the defence, but he just doesn’t look the same players as he was before the injury.

Gini Wijnaldum – 5 (on for Alexander-Arnold – 80′): 

 

Club captain Jordan Henderson neither started, nor came on as a substitute; whether this is because he’s fallen out of favour, or was simply unfit remains to be seen.

In his place, Gini came on, but couldn’t change the result.

Dominic Solanke – 5 (on for Robertson – 84′): 

 

It’s concerning that The Reds have to turn to an u23s striker with no EPL goals to his name to try and grab the winner at Old Trafford.

The youngster did nothing wrong, but having a decent winger or an experienced striker on the bench may have given Liverpool a better chance of stealing a result.

Unused Subs: Simon Mignolet, Joel Matip, Joe Gomez, Jordan Henderson

Manager

Jurgen Klopp – 5:

Team selection was not an issue, even though in hindsight Lovren and TAA were poor, they were in excellent form in the buildup.

However, it is clear that Klopp should’ve had VVD marking Lukaku, and not the dodgy Croatian, if VVD won the headers that Lovren missed, then United would never have scored their goals.

Ultimately though, it was the players who let Klopp down, and he will need to pick them up in order to finish the season on a high.

Talking Points

What It Means

 

In my preview, I predicted a comfortable win for the better team, Liverpool.

In reality, United were the deserved victors and really should’ve won by more in the end, despite being bailed out by some poor refereeing.

Does this result mean that United are in fact the better team? I don’t think so. Liverpool will use this experience and come back stronger; Liverpool are a club on the rise whereas United are declining.

Lessons Learned

 

This is a young team that hasn’t been together very long, and games like these will only benefit them in the long run.

Klopp too will have surely learnt something about his own team from the opposition, as much as Lovren and TAA were at fault for the goals, under Klopp’s system it is not too difficult to isolate individuals and force errors.

It’s clear that there are still holes in this squad and that certain players are, at least not yet, at the standard that Liverpool need.

Bounce Back

 

It’s not all doom and gloom though, Liverpool fought back valiantly where in years gone by United could’ve on to score two or three more.

Liverpool must now move on from the game and use it to go on another good run of form as they did after the defeats against Tottenham and Swansea earlier in the season.

As much as all Liverpool fans are disappointed, it’s important to keep things in perspective and remain behind the team.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea1111111111111111111

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – on 07/03/2018

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Manchester United vs Liverpool : Preview

Battle for Pride and Second Place

 

Given that Manchester City are running away with the title, the next best thing would be to finish 2nd.

Finishing 2nd would mean that Liverpool have placed ahead of United for the second season running, even after Jose Mourinho’s fabled ‘second season’.

This fixture is undoubtedly the greatest rivalry in England, and one of the biggest games in world football.

In recent history, this fixture has been somewhat even, mainly due to Mourinho’s insistence of making an exciting fixture as dull as possible, leading to many draws.

It remains to be seen if the controversial Portuguese manager reverts to the same tactics given Liverpool’s red-hot form and ability to find the back of the net with regularity.

Manchester United

Team News and Predicted Lineup

manutd

United are missing several players through injury including Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo, Anthony Martial is also a major doubt.

Paul Pogba picked up a leg gash in training which could keep him out, if so, Mourane Fellaini could come into the team.

The rest of the team will be the same lineup that’s featured in the last few weeks, but Mourinho could switch to a 4-2-3-1 as he did in the closing stages of their match against Crystal Palace.

Liverpool

Team News and Predicted Lineup

livmanuted

Gini Wijnaldum is unlikely to feature as he recovers from illness, and Jordan Henderson is a doubt after suffering a dead leg against Porto.

The back five and front three pick themselves, but the midfield could be subject to change depending on availability.

If Henderson is fit to start then either James Milner or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will drop out of the team, but Dejan Lovren will almost certainly start ahead of Joel Matip.

Analysis

 

Bias aside, it is clear that Liverpool are currently a superior team to United, they’re lucky to be in second place, but it is impressive how they are able to pick up wins and draws when they’re playing badly.

United’s plan will the same as usual under Mourinho, try to nick a goal while sitting back and defending for their lives.

Jurgen Klopp’s men will have to be in top form to break their stubborn defence down and snatch 2nd place from United’s hands.

Prediction

 

When the two teams faced each other earlier in the season, United were flying, and Liverpool were struggling.

Even then, United could only just hang on for a draw, but this time the tables have turned; Liverpool are playing tremendously and United are just scraping by and they have a crucial Champions League game in a few days.

This time around, Liverpool will break through Mourinho’s bus and silence Old Trafford with a 3-1 win.

 

You’ll Never Walk Alone

 

Cieren O’Dea

 

Red Or Dead – Liverpool FC Football Blog – 10/03/2018.

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