Things started out fairly well for Liverpool against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. Jürgen Klopp’s visiting Reds had more possession, looked more dangerous. It looked like a breakthrough was only a matter or time.
Then, United picked up a string of injuries. Rather than making it easier to open them up, it meant they played a more conservative game. Then, Liverpool lost Roberto Firmino. From then on, a nil-nil draw always looked likeliest.
“With the players we’ve got, you want to win every game no matter who it’s against,” James Milner said to Sky following the match when asked if it was frustrating not to have gotten more against such a depleted opponent.
“We’ve got to look where we can improve when we have got the ball and teams are sat back. We’ve come up against it a lot this season, teams showing a lot of respect against us with the players we’ve got.
“That’s something we’ve got to adapt to and work out. I just don’t think we were good enough with our movements, and the final ball at times. Around the box we didn’t manage to open them up as much as we would like.”
In fact, Liverpool didn’t really manage to open up United at all. They didn’t manage a single shot on target in the penalty area and only hit the frame of the goal once all game, with six further efforts falling off the mark.
If anything, United had the better chances, putting three shots on Liverpool’s goal and forcing Alisson to make the best save of the night when he stretched to stop Jesse Lingard on the game’s only clear cut scoring chance.
Given Liverpool’s need for points in the title race—and United’s three first half injury substitutions—it’s hard to put a positive spin to on it. Still, Milner is hoping come the end of the year it will look a point earned rather than two dropped.
“When you come off and you don’t win it’s always disappointing,” he added.” But sometimes you have to look and think, hopefully it’s a good point at the end of the season. There’s a long way to go and we’ve just to keep going.”