Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United
Manchester United stay top of the Premier League after playing out a goalless draw at Anfield with champions Liverpool.
It was billed as a top two clash but Leicester’s victory over Southampton lifted the Foxes to second, and with more Premier League 2021 results to roll in this week there could be more changes in the leading group. But this was a good result for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s title hopefuls, though probably an even better one for Manchester City who can make up ground on their two rivals.
Jurgen Klopp’s Reds had plenty of chances but United came the closest with a late effort from Paul Pogba.
Highlights of the game
Liverpool bossed the first half with Thiago, making his home debut, pulling the strings just in front of the Reds’ back four. The former Bayern man showed brilliant control to beat Fred and created Liverpool’s first opening for Roberto Firmino, but the Brazilian’s shot was blocked before Andy Robertson blazed his follow up effort over.
As the hosts swarmed forward Firmino fired at goal when a square pass to Robertson would surely have produced a goal. And then a poor pass from Harry Maguire put the United defence under pressure, but after Gigi Wijnaldum’s shot was blocked Xherdan Shaqiri’s cross didn’t find a man.
Jurgen Klopp put together a makeshift centre-back partnership of Fabinho and skipper Jordan Henderson but they had a quiet half as the Red Devils had just one touch in their penalty area in the opening 30 minutes. And the visitors finally registered a shot when Bruno Fernandes had a free-kick opportunity but he was marginally off target.
Firmino shot weakly at David de Gea after good work from Mo Salah as the two teams went into the break goalless.
The second half continued in the same pattern, and after Trent Alexander-Arnold found Robertson with a brilliant cross-field pass his fellow wing-back sent in a beautiful cross which hit Firmino and bounced out of play. Mo Salah weaved his way across the United box and had a shot deflected wide then, at the other end, United had another free-kick opportunity when Edinson Cavani was felled, but Marcus Rashford hit the defensive wall with his effort.
On 75 minutes United had their best effort of the game when Rashford pushed the ball wide for Luke Shaw who crossed and Fernandes’ shot was saved by the feet of Alisson. As both sides went for the win Thiago hit a thunderous shot which De Gea punched to safety.
Having been under the cosh for much of the game Manchester United suddenly had belief and when Paul Pogba broke free in the penalty area Alisson made a brilliant reaction save to deny the Frenchman.
Liverpool’s unbeaten home record has been extended to 68 games, but Klopp’s team has failed to score for a third game in a row.
Manchester United fans had to wait 34 minutes for a first shot on goal, the longest wait since the last time they played at Anfield a year ago when their first shot arrived on 40 minutes.
So a goalless draw was no real surprise.
But the Red Devils rallied late in the game and while Liverpool won the shot count by 18 to eight, the visitors had four on target to their hosts’ three.
Manchester United legend Gary Neville said last week that it was time for the club’s fans to get excited and while there was little here to get the pulse racing it was a fine result which keeps them top.
There is more Premier League action to come this weekend, and next on the agenda Manchester City host Crystal Palace and, on the back of a four match winning run, Pep Guardiola’s side is clicking through the gears. The latest Premier League 2021 betting odds have placed the Sky Blues as odds on favourites to win the 2020/21 title.
Next Sunday Liverpool and United meet in the FA Cup, one of the fiercest rivalries in football in the world’s oldest cup competition. What’s not to like, particularly for City who have been installed as favourites to win this competition too, available at 3.00 here at SBOTOP, with Chelsea second favourites at 7.50 ahead of Liverpool at 8.00.
Before all that there are midweek Premier League engagements for Manchester United, away to Fulham on Wednesday, and Liverpool, at home to Burnley on Thursday.
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