Another goalless game for Jurgen Klopp and his Reds. Liverpool started both halves brightly, and had the lions share of possession yet again. And for the third game in a row, Liverpool could not find a way to get the ball in the back of the net.
Join us as we try and separate narrative from reality of the match up and how it all went down in the end.
The Brazilian net-minder barely had a thing to do in the first half, but was called upon several times in the second half. Alisson came up huge in several occasions, stopping point blank shots (even if they would have been called for offside). He also was quick to come to the edge, or out of, his box several times to clean up potential opportunities as Manchester United tried to find space in behind Liverpool’s defense.
Midfield Center Backs
Speaking of the defense, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson were fantastic today. Fabinho routinely stuffed defenders on the dribble to kill fast breaks, and use his lanky legs to snake the ball away before it reached attackers. Fabinho finished the game with 4 interceptions, 3 clearances, 2 tackles, and 2 blocked shots. His partner, and fellow midfielder-turned-emergency-defender, Jordan Henderson, also put in a good shift. Hendo still wanders a little too much for a center back, but he was much better than against Southampton. The captain led the team with 6 clearances, getting the ball out of harms way a multitude of times in the second half.
What can we say other than Thiago is just a pleasure to watch? He was silky smooth on the dribble, calmly shedding pressure before playing killer ball after killer ball. His vision and touch are otherworldly. He also was fantastic on the defensive side, reading the game and making 7 interceptions on the day to go with 3 tackles. I just can’t wait to see him play when the front three are finally back in tune.
Liverpool have a goal scoring problem. They are getting into good positions, and taking plenty of shots, but the finishing has gone ice cold for the Reds. Today, they had 17 shots, including 8 from inside the box.
Over the stretch of 4 games since Liverpool dropped 7 on Aston Villa, the Reds have scored just 1 goal from 62 shots. RobertoFirmino has led the team in shots during that time, going 0 for 13. It’s not just the front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane that are struggling to finish either. Thirty shots have come from midfielders and defenders, but nothing has managed to find the back of the net.
1.6% - Since scoring with seven of their 14 shots against Crystal Palace (50%), Liverpool have scored just one goal from 62 shots in their last four Premier League games, a conversion rate of 1.6%. Problems. #LIVMNU pic.twitter.com/zStsoHF4zn— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 17, 2021
The young right back has been so vital to Liverpool’s success over the past few seasons. Unfortunately, he’s hit a bit of a rough patch with his form. He was 0 for 10 in completed crosses today, and seemed to struggle with getting up and down the field. Whether this is long term effects of covid from this summer, or something else, he seems like he could use a game or two off.
From the Manager
“I know my job and I know what I have to do. The most important thing is to qualify for the Champions League and I know how difficult it is. Yes, you are right. This season will be a tough race for the top four. True.”
What Happens Next
At the time of this writing, Manchester City are leading Crystal Palace, meaning Liverpool have dropped into the 4th spot in the table. The Reds need to get their heads right as they will host Sean Dyche and the worm-eating orcs from Burnley on Thursday for another game that will likely see Liverpool dealing with a packed in side.