Manchester United kept their unbeaten run in the season going with a goalless draw at Anfield on Saturday and contributing writer, Nathan Quao, of Citi Sports, Accra, Ghana, highlights some of the key talking points.
Red Devils go unscathed again
The first thing one takes away from the result is that Jose Mourinho and his men will not be talking about the goal Coutinho, Salah or Sturridge scored against them.
In as much as winning was important, staying alive against a Liverpool team that was built to play such high-profile matches is a good indicator of United’s rugged side.
Teams should show different sides to respond to different challenges and Man United had to be very capable of dealing with Liverpool’s dangerous offensive forays. Despite the defensive woes of the home team, their attack was very potent and so, loads of attention was needed in that regard.
The back four stayed in shape and the manager ensured that the plan held sway for the point.
They all add up to the grand total at the end of the season. One point gained. On to the next one.
But some arrogance was missing
Yes, a point was gained. Yes, the team went unbeaten and they smothered Liverpool on the day but if a team wants to win a title, capturing big matches should be a feature.
The match at Anfield was a big one. In fact, it is the biggest match in England traditionally but Man United should have also had something to swing at Liverpool.
Working hard in defence was primordial because of Liverpool’s threat. However, the match also highlighted the need for some arrogance and swagger from the Red Devils.
The team’s attack was not at work today and the only chance of note, which came from Romelu Lukaku, was saved easily by Simon Mignolet.
Paul Pogba would have attempted a few things to keep Liverpool worried and Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s anonymous performance accentuated that fact. Marouane Fellaini could have even helped change things in terms of a physical presence from set-pieces but the ‘what-ifs’ never play a part in the reality of the day.
It is always a very difficult decision when facing rivals on their patch and you know what they are capable of. Man United got their point but could they have tried a bit more to get something more?
David De Gea was MOTM
All this could have been done at the Santiago Bernabeu for Real Madrid but the save that stopped Liverpool from taking the lead in the fist half was one for Manchester United and by David De Gea; the player who almost left a few seasons ago.
De Gea stuck his foot out to stop Joel Matip’s goal-bound shot and that proved to be the deciding moment.
The Spanish goalkeeper showed why the suitors look at him with strong interest.
He said after the match that the save was “out of instinct” and fans of the team will be grateful for that sense of timing and anticipation.
De Gea’s value to the team has always been apparent but the save to stop Man United from going down will add to the goalie’s reputation and urge the club to tie him down on a very long-term basis.
He will be a strong part of this crop of Man United team should they deliver the titles in coming years. And who do we thank for this?
The fax machine that chose not to work properly on August 31, 2015. Long may you live. Thank you for helping the team keep David De Gea.