THE worst part about the point is that it feels like Jose Mourinho’s point.
I like him. I know you don’t and I know I am not supposed to, but I loved the substitution of Ashley Young at the end of the game. It was needle pure and simple and if caps can’t be doffed for that in this fixture then we are dead from the neck up.
I like him, the old warhorse. I know he is awful. I know he poked Villanova in the eye and was a disgrace about St John’s Ambulance and Anders Frisk but I have grown to like him and it is in part because of how he has become that bit vaudeville, that bit vulnerable, that bit human. He is no longer an unbeatable end of level monster, he’s Brian Clough in The Damned United, he’s a little bit tragic, a little bit Bridget, a little bit Sex And The City.
And tonight he shows that vulnerability by being the manager who cannot afford to lose under any circumstances and setting very expensive and very well paid footballers up to have no interest in the final third, even when they are on top. Make no mistake, for 25 minutes United were the better side. United were good. Until they hit the invisible wall of no interest. And then they weren’t very good at all. They gave everything in two-thirds and it was just about enough.
That’s a compliment to the Tricky Reds but not one they should dwell upon. Only once did they truly undo United; Antonio Valencia’s saving tackle on Roberto Firmino one of the best of the season, when Liverpool’s patience finally looked likely to be rewarded. It was an epic challenge, all limbs and desire and anticipation. The old warhorse can get lads to buy in but it doesn’t take much to love to play for Manchester United, to embrace that sense of common endeavour. When your back is against the wall…
It doesn’t take much to love to play for Liverpool either. There weren’t many lads who were doing the impossible for Liverpool but no one likely to let their teammates, manager or supporters down. James Milner played till his leg was likely to drop off. Sadio Mane showed and showed. In midfield, Jordan Henderson shirked nothing and while Emre Can toiled it wasn’t for the want of trying.
It was a reminder of the Liverpool/United games at Anfield from 2004 till about 2011. What was pleasing was that there was no Diego Forlan, John O’Shea or Carlos Tevez to stick the knife in. What was disappointing was there was no Dirk Kuyt or Fernando Torres to force the issue. Those games were part of a piece, part of games against Chelsea decided by one error and while Loris Karius and Dejan Lovren nearly produced that error it never truly came. In short, it was a contest which lurched into the dire while simultaneously being big boys football which Liverpool responded to by being big boys. The point was alright. Not quite good enough but not quite worth gambling over.
Liverpool’s prospects this season aren’t defined by whether or not they draw against United but instead by whether or not they draw against West Brom, Crystal Palace and Watford. What Liverpool do next starts tomorrow and ends when we go to Goodison when Advent is truly on the high street. Until then they have brought on their famous Manchester United, they’ve brought on their Cockneys by the score and while we haven’t quite taken them two by two nor have we allowed ourselves to be undone. As today’s set of lads know better than anyone, league titles are rarely won before Christmas but often lost.
We can let them have this one, our Mancunian friends and their old warhorse. He and they will come again. You know it and I know it. Until then go to bed knowing they needed to give everything they had in the back two-thirds of the pitch to live with the Reds. These excellent footballers, two dropped with cramp. One in the act of giving everything to help Liverpool score, the other in the same penalty area having given everything to stop Liverpool from scoring. As ever, footballers tell the story. Two down in agony, everything on the line. Think where they were and know this isn’t the last time this season that will happen against Liverpool, collapsing trying to stop them.
Because Liverpool are good and Liverpool will get better and they are that hard to live with even when they don’t play well.
Up the Reds. See you Saturday.
Excellent match review, as always, a fit Can and Lalana may have resulted in an alternative result but let’s not forget the years when Utd had the Indian sign over us…. but we won the league! #WTRWWAW
I like that reminder Bill, very true. Let’s hope we’re back to those days.
I think we just have to admit that we will have difficulties against teams like Burnley and Man Utd.
If not for two worldies from De Gea, we score two goals. And I knew, I just fucking knew, that he was ging to be the hardest piece of the puzzle to crack. Zlatan who? A solid point for Mou and his bus, but only one team played for three points, and only one team is on the rise. United can have their point, I hope it keeps them warm on the way to their 5th or 6th place, we’ll have nine of them points in the next three weeks. YNWA.
Took reading this insightful piece by Atkinson for me to realize (American spelling) that the Reds are solid through and through. I didn’t see that – and I’m not sure Neil did either -until now. These guys are solid and will not lose the league title prior to Christmas. That is something to hang your jacket on as you take your bowls in your hands and get on with it!
At least the lads have had a dress rehearsal for Pulis
I thought both teams played well. United are on the rise, as well as us. Pleased to see us finally get a clean sheet, at last. Karius looked a bit better.
The only disappointment for me was Sturridge. I really don’t see what he brings to the side now. I would happily swap him for another Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino, Milner, Henderson or even Wijnaldum. The whole team gelled, when he was replaced by Lallana.
He didn’t even look frustrated, when he was taken off after an utterly ineffective hour. It was as if he knew the game was up for him and not just in this match. He’ll do well somewhere else, but even Rooney had more impact on that game than he did. Lallana’s been the league’s best player so far, for me, along with KDB.
Just 2 years ago, we were obsessed with scraping into the top 4 somehow, both to keep our best players and to attract a big name who would only come to us for the money and CL football. Nobody is going to complain now, if we just sign young players in the 15m-30m bracket, who fit the blueprint.
I’m not fussed about the CL and if we don’t win the PL I wouldn’t mind missing out on it again, to be honest. If it meant that 1 or 2 players decided to leave, I would back Klopp to replace them effectively and without too much drama. I don’t really expect that to happen though and it feels good that neither big name players nor that competition can hold us hostage anymore.
If we get lucky with avoiding injuries this season and Karius gradually improves, then we have a great chance to win the league and we are playing the game as it should be played.
Don’t write-off United though. They are an emerging force again. They did what they had to do, tonight.
Everything seems a bit flat concerning tonight, I thought Liverpool were very impressive in the second half. Not as incisive as they have been so far, or will be this season, but scared the absolute shite out of a team that was (post 25 minutes) engineered solely to defend.
You’re right, the league will not be won and lost in this sort of fixture, but it is endlessly reassuring that under Klopp, Liverpool almost habitually hold their own against the “big boys”. As we all predicted United were horrible, they ale housed it better than any true ale house team will at Anfield this season, and still, it took absolute heroics from that tricky bastard in goal to keep The Reds out.
I thought anything less than 3 points tonight would be an indication that our title hopes were overly optimistic, I’ve ended up more convinced than ever that these fucking Reds are up there to stay. There to scare the shite out of anyone and everyone. I can’t wait to see them again.
Don’t really want to talk about that man but there is little to talk about in the actual game.
Vulnerable? Not really, he’s set up teams like that for as long as we’ve known him.
£1 Billion and that’s all he’s got?
No thank you.
My only real positive for us? As alluded to, I feel we’d have found a way to lose that in previous years and did as recently as January 2016.
Maybe that proves a decent point gained eventually but I feel pretty flat right now (I wasn’t one of the idiots expecting us to thrash them either).
The old warhorse, suggesting that the 35% possession actually tells a different story. That it was the reds that were cautious. That it was his opponent that managed by anxiety. That his boys were the ones that were in control from start to finish.
Pyongyang called – it wants its warhorse back.
Good performance by West Brom that, though I did expect a bit more of a threat from set pieces…..
Not withstanding the anti-football game plan which made it stifling to play against, and his notable endeavour, I think it makes it plain who misses out when Can is fit again. It’s not Lall or Gini – it’s Can. The constant motion and speed of thought Wijnaldum has provided was sorely missed. Not that Emre was poor just not as good at giving us the fluidity that the team has thrived on. Not sure how to interpret Studge’s body language when substituted, he seemed to be serene enough. Has he accepted that his role in the team is, if not diminished, then certainly altered to the extent that he isn’t the main man for these type of games at least?
Don’t disagree with you often Neil and I see where you’re coming from with the pantomime villain and increasingly vulnerable demeanour thing but I can’t bring myself to like that man. For me he has been and remains a nasty narcissistic piece of work.
United came for a nil all draw and got it. That’s the extent of their ambition- to be afraid to play football it case they got battered. It’s not the worst that could happen, it’s frustrating but shows how far we’ve come. Klopp’s Redmen are only getting better.
Up the Reds!
As we wake up today, a little groggy, perhaps, a little disappointed, let us console ourselves with the following: we are two points off the top of the league and we have Klopp. There isn’t a single United fan who wouldn’t, in a moment of honesty, admit to wishing he was their manager rather than yesterday’s man Mourinho.
As we awake today, slightly groggy, slightly disappointed, let us remember the following: we’re 2 points off the top and we have Jurgen Klopp. Then think about all those United fans who’d love Klopp but have to do with yesterday’s man Mourinho and his shit on a stick.
Neil’s right. It is Mourinho’s point. He brought the most expensively assembled squad in the history of the game to a team not even in Europe, put them in a bus and thanks to two fantastic saves got a 0-0. It was Hodgson with de Gea.
As not3bad says, it was a bad night for Sturridge. Disappointed with a point but one more than last year and we can make it 4 at their place
Liverpool didn’t look fired up and if you cant get fired up for Man Utd under lights there is something profoundly wrong with you
Most expensive squad in European league history, spent 160 mil on attacking talent, comes to Anfield and parks a back 7
Mourinho is such a hateable negative twat
Thinking back it really was apparent how much we missed Wjnaldum and Lallana. Lallana sets the pressing tempo so well and he changed the dynamic of the game when he came on. They were clinging to their point at times.
As has been previously commented upon, Utd’s alehousery unsettled us a bit. It was funny watching such an expensively selected team hoof the fuck out of it up to Zlatan, who gives tries to look big time all the time but got absolutely nothing out of Lovren and Matip, who were completely unfazed by him.
I was getting sick of death of Neville trying to scapegoat Karius for the watching audience. He did pretty much nothing wrong, bar that pass to Lovren from a pass that should never have been played in the first instance. It bored me the way he kept returning to Karius. Typical Sky Sports bullshit trying to simplify things for the watching audience.
I wonder if it is significant how incredibly nervous and tense we looked in the first half ? Utd did us a favour second half by retreating and allowing us to grow into the game; I wonder if they will regret that themselves. Is there one overriding challenge with focusing on this grade of player in your team (focus on the system) that they don’t have the ‘big game’ mental make-up ? I repeat; we looked REALLY tense – I just wonder if anyone else sees that as significant ?
I don’t like thinking about Utd but one thing did occur to me…..if Ferguson was managing that team last night would they have set up and played in the same manner? I think not. And therein lies the rub for our friends down the road. Get used to it.
As far as we are concerned….well we could have played better specially in the first half. Very close to prising a win in the second. A lightbulb moment when Lallana came on doesn’t bode well for Studge but how wonderful it was to see the inter play re-appear.
Onwards and upwards.
The international break did us no favours, it showed in the first half … this side needs continuity. The more games they have on the trot the better the unit is.
Exactly, just realise I stole your point but it’s how I saw it. Or what I hope it was.
I will forgot this game quickly and move on. I can’t even be arsed to spend time thinking did they kill football or were we simply not aggressive enough. I thought we seemed nervous for a while at the start and that was a slight concern. However, I’m simply gonna put all this down to the international break that killed our momentum. Onwards and upwards from here.
As for manager, whilst I will never like him, I would kind of agree that he does seem more human. It would be certainly foolish to not admire his achievements over the years. But thank fuck we got klopp and not the deluded one.
couple of points – I don’t think we were nervous or tense in the first 20 or so. we were just up against a United side that were physical, quick, and not letting us settle. They pressed and left a couple on our lads to let them know. Once that ran out for them we could find space and get moving. I’m not concerned by that at all – Swansea did similar last time out.
As for Emre Can, comparing his role to Winjaldum or Lallana is a little unfair. Whilst he did play ahead of Henderson it looked like he was instructed not to venture too far from the space Pogba was in to double up on the aerial threat and second balls. And once Ashley Young was on the teamsheet you knew that was going to be plan A for United.
Hey KM. I wasn’t criticising Can. I rate him hugely and think he’s boss now and will be a great in the future. He was a bit rusty last night but gave it all he had and was only denied being a hero by shagging Peter Parker in goal.
I just feel that Klopp’s optimum and our most effective set up currently is the three we saw in the run up to the poxy International break. The interchanging and fluidity was missing last night. I wonder if it’s as a direct replacement for Hendo in the short term that will see him get game time. Of course JK & ZB may well have different ideas or plans for different formations later in the season.
Thanks for the review Neil.
I wasn’t expecting a thrashing of any sorts, irrespective of the overconfident fans.
For me, I prefer looking at it one game at a time.
Liverpool did not play with any swagger or precision seen during those days when Torres, Gerrard ruled the pitch for us. Wow I really miss Torres’ direct and instinct.
United have physical players and that was a challenge in one way to keep up with that.
The international break was another factor. Travel for some of our players does take its toll and I expected this to slow us down a bit.
Sturridge is a wonderful player but that switch and resulting movement showed me that either he finds a way to sort it out or perhaps he fits best in another team. I’m not feeling sorry for him or any players who gets paid millions to kick football and do commercials. Bring your best to every match and make it count. We’ve seen those players who did in the past for much less, wearing the red shirt.
As for Maureen, it is easy to just blame him for parking the bus. Was this something surprising? Did anyone see how Athletico Madrid took apart his Blue Bus in the CL a few years back?
Liverpool need to find a way to break down these buses. I don’t want to make excuses for the team or the manager. Find a way to beat United. United sure as hell did it during Ferguson’s reign.
WBA is next, so I hope Jurgen and the team have taken some lessons from this game and used it as practice for that one. It will seem like the next game is the one we really need to win.
For those fans who think we can trash every team based on some games so far, please remember Burnley. We are not yet there in terms of title winning or whatever super team on FIFA 2017 you have set up.
Less pressure on the team and Jurgen – allow them to do their jobs to get the Red Machine in full effect. Then wait until May.
Up the Reds!!!
breaking a bus is about taking your chances when they come, it could have been 3 nil or 3 one just as much as it nil -nil due two a good keeper and one good tackle, i’m still amazed zlatan missed from where he did, thankful though that he did
Agree with you on those points, but what about the rest of the game/ Where was Sturridge? What were doing in the first half at home to the famous Anfield roaring crowd?
Seeing Jurgen running down the corridor at half time, either made me think he was on to a brilliant tactical change and idea of how to take apart the Mancs or was in desperate need to take a shit, after Mmancs nearly undid us.
Great review, think we badly missed Wjinaldum and Lallana (showed when he came on). I love Emre Can as much as the next man but even at his best, can he show the guile and trickery of Wjinaldum? Remember, Pep at Barca (and City), got rid of Yaya for a reason, not his abilities, but his suitability for the side. If we truly have Dahoud coming soon, and Grujic being schooled daily in the Klopp system, I fear for Can long term.
is the end of paragraph 2 a nod to Half Man, Haldf Biscuit there?
I’m hoping we don’t look back at this match as a lost opportunity. This is the most negative Manchester United team I’ve seen since pussy was a kitten and they were there for the taking.
Still feel this was a good point. Might have won it in the end based on chances. Not sure it would’ve been deserved. Commitment and effort was there in buckets.
The international break and Lallana and Gini missing affected our rhythm. Its a tough game for Can to return in given the number of games he’s had this season. Thought he got better as the game wore on.
Side note, there was a lot of rubbish spoken by Utd (Neville and Mourinho) saying that Liverpool were sidetracked by the build up to the game. Also, the Sky Sports commentary of Tyler and Neville was so bias towards Utd. They seem to be on every Liverpool game now. Sky are overplaying this combination.