Not only was it boring but it was just a terrible football match. Prior to the 60th minute, it was nothing more than slug fest. Hojlund and Garnacho had good chances. Liverpool should have probably been ahead simply from the sheer amount of shots they had (34 to our 6). In the end, a draw was fair between the two but both walking out with 0 would have been a more fitting ending to this game. The fact that this is an admirable point speaks to the long term and short term malaise that is Man Utd.

A Thinking Man’s Game

As much as the manager is at the fault and grace of the decisions with those he puts on the pitch, at the end of the day, it is the players that are making those decisions on the pitch within those 90 minutes. You can’t go out there and make that split second decision that could be the difference between a threatening opening and nothing happening.

Everyone knows the adages that you get with going into a game at Anfield and when it’s a game against Man Utd, those things are even more apt. Within the opening minutes of the game, United were playing the fixture as if it were any other. This is a team that does not have the authority or nous to do that in any away games, let alone the toughest of the lot. This is not the Emirates, where we still had enough players available in the first phase to somewhat give credence to that thought. Onana, Evans and Varane are all experienced yet they continued in that fashion. It was only once that Varane waved the whole team forward so Onana could play the ball into Liverpool’s half.

The issue we found is that there is no one to play to in the middle or up top. Liverpool’s backline is athletic enough to deal with the fact that we have pace to burn in the young players up top. That negates much of the value that they have. Yet we don’t have the players twist and turn in the middle to create space apart from Mainoo. When he done it, it was one of the only times in the first half that we were to progress the play. Amrabat had a quite the terrible game. It was not just the fact he looked sluggish on and off the ball, it was the fact that the 18 year old next to him looked more the veteran. The Moroccan looked terrified whenever he got the ball and it crept through in his performances.

Then there was the front three of Antony, Garnacho and Hojlund. A front three that is extremely inexperienced and at the best of times, even with their best, they will still have games with poor decisions earmarked all over their performance. It was clear today. They all had their moments: Garnancho with the potential 1v1 stolen from him by the touch of Trent; Hojlund with a shot from a narrow angle that was covered adequately by the Liverpool rearguard; and Antony with a several chances to put his team mate through that he would invariably fluffed it outside of one he got across but it split the players.

Other Thoughts

Over the past 3 months, the descent of Varane in terms of his position as centre backs was something unthinkable when the season ended. After the performance from today, it should be even more unthinkable the fact that he had been sitting out for so long. One thing that cannot be levied at the Frenchman is that he is excellent at defending his box and a United team who finds all things difficult defensively, having him out was a strange one. Ten Hag justified it by saying it was because he was not good enough at left centre back yet today, he fitted out there and was absolutely fine. Perhaps it can be seen as running back to someone with your tail between your legs but we have seen that the Dutchman is more than willing to go against himself in order to survive.

Spoken about earlier but if United were able to sign players like Kobbie Mainoo on the market, they perhaps wouldn’t have to play like a lower mid table team away to their biggest rivals. In fact, United might have been able to build a better squad holding onto the former academy players that regularly turn out in the Premier League and across Europe for other teams.