De Gea de­fi­ant as Man Utd sti­fle Liver­pool

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

ARCH-RI­VALS Liver­pool and Manch­ester United failed to light a spark as Eng­land’s two most suc­cess­ful clubs played out a for­get­table 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Oc­to­ber 17.

Vic­tory would have lifted Jur­gen Klopp’s Liver­pool level with league-lead­ers Manch­ester City and Arse­nal, but they re­main fourth af­ter see­ing a fiveg­ame win­ning streak come to an end.

Liver­pool came clos­est to win­ning, with United goal­keeper David de Gea thwart­ing Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho, while Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic spurned the vis­i­tors’ best chance with a weak header.

“They didn’t cre­ate chances, maybe two in the sec­ond half, and De Gea made two or three great saves, but in the end our per­for­mance was not what it should be,” said Liver­pool man­ager Klopp.

“We weren’t calm enough. That is not the way we want to play, but I ac­cept it. We got a point. There are worse things in the world.”

Klopp could con­sole him­self with a first clean sheet in 10 league games, but it was the first time his side had failed to score at home since a 1-0 loss to United ex­actly 10 months pre­vi­ously.

Jose Mour­inho’s United re­main in sev­enth and have won only one of their last five league games, al­though their per­for­mance was in keep­ing with the de­fen­sive rig­or­ous­ness their man­ager de­mands.

It was the first night game in front of An­field’s re­built Main Stand, and Mour­inho un­veiled a new for­mula for the oc­ca­sion, field­ing Paul Pogba in an ad­vanced role be­hind Ibrahi­movic.

Liver­pool were miss­ing the in­jured Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum and with Adam Lal­lana con­signed to the bench, there was a slug­gish­ness to their play in the early stages that United looked to ex­ploit.

The vis­i­tors had four at­tempts on goal be­fore Liver­pool mus­tered one, home goal­keeper Loris Kar­ius gath­er­ing de­flected shots by Ibrahi­movic and Marouane Fel­laini and push­ing away a Mar­cus Rash­ford cross.

Rash­ford and fel­low winger Ash­ley Young dropped deep in United’s de­fen­sive phase and Liver­pool were re­duced to one sight of goal in the first half, De Gea catch­ing Roberto Firmino’s back­post header.

Ref­eree An­thony Tay­lor, who at­tracted at­ten­tion in the build-up due to his Greater Manch­ester roots, kept his cards in his pocket de­spite sev­eral late chal­lenges.

But his patience ran out when United cen­tre-back Eric Bailly caught Daniel Stur­ridge, and Young was booked for dis­sent af­ter Jor­dan Hen­der­son es­caped cen­sure for a foul on An­der Her­rera.

Pogba cre­ated a glo­ri­ous chance for Ibrahi­movic early in the sec­ond half with a deep cross from the right, but the Swede mis­judged his header and the ball bounced harm­lessly square.

At the other end, De Gea got down smartly to thwart Can, who had neatly sidestepped Chris Smalling, and also pro­duced a fly­ing full-stretch save to touch Coutinho’s 25-yard curler wide.

Lal­lana’s in­tro­duc­tion for the anony­mous Stur­ridge just be­fore the hour en­livened Liver­pool and Mour­inho re­sponded by send­ing on Wayne Rooney for Rash­ford.

Lal­lana’s clever flick freed Firmino for a late chance, but the Brazil­ian was de­nied by an im­pec­ca­bly timed slid­ing tackle from An­to­nio Va­len­cia. –

Photo: EPA

Liver­pool’s Roberto Firmino (left) at­tempts a cross past Manch­ester United goal­keeper David De Gea (right), who kept United com­pet­i­tive in a 0-0 draw on Oc­to­ber 17.

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