Manchester Unite slicked up their first draw of the Premier League campaign on Sunday, holding on for a 0-0 result at Anfield against Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side were league leaders going into the weekend, and we’re heavy favorites against a wounded United team. The result would have been taken by many United fans, and in the end it was a credit to the defense and Andre Onana for holding strong in scary moments.
Erik ten Hag opted for a Kobbie Mainoo-Sofyan Amrabat midfield pivot, moving Scott McTominay into the advanced midfield role with Bruno Fernandes out. It didn’t offer a lot in terms of creativity or possession, but it did give United some shape and structure in defense to try and spring opportunities on the break.
Unfortunately they were bad at springing opportunities on the break, thanks in part to Antony remaining as useless as he’s been all season and some poor play on the ball from Diogo Dalot and Amrabat. Rasmus Hojlund was a ghost in the first half without any service, and Garnacho wasn’t faring much better at getting involved.
An opening flurry by Liverpool looked to spell doom, but United settled and killed the game a bit before halftime. Some physical clashes and extra curriculars contributed to that approach, but going into the second half it was still very much Liverpool’s game.
The hosts inched closer to opening the scoring in the opening minutes of the second half, with Trent Alexander-Arnold hesitating on a good chance to fire first time. It ended up going out at the near post by the time he did shoot.
Trent had another shot at the top of the box after an awful giveaway by Antony, one which he did take first time and saw skip just wide left of the goal. This was in a period where Liverpool were starting to settle for shots from distance, but United were just far too clumsy to take advantage of turnovers of possession. Salah twice forced Onana to save from distance, with the second of those hit with some venom, but the keeper did well to keep him out.
A chance did fall to Rasmus Hojlund in the box, but he blasted the shot right into Alisson’s torso. Marcus Rashford came on to replace Garnacho, and somehow Antony stayed on the pitch.
Liverpool found another good pair of chances entering the final 15 minutes, with Ibrahima Konate denied by Onana and a scrambling effort in front of goal cleared by Evans and Dalot. Somehow United settled down a bit and looked set for a draw, even with Diogo Dalot getting a late sending off for a puzzling two yellow card incident.
A first draw of the season for United, and a decent result considering the mood coming in let alone the way the game was going. Unfortunate not to capitalize on a couple opportunities on the break, but hopefully ten Hag can see the positives from the attackers who ended the match.