MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 LIVERPOOL: MATCH REVIEW
Liverpool stuttered once again, falling to a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford. Sancho and Rashford put United 2-0 up after 53 minutes, before Salah struck late on. The late surge didn’t materialise, with the Reds suffering their first league defeat in 2022. Here’s the match review.
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° Lineup. The back five and front three were completely as expected. In midfield, Milner and Elliott started either side of Henderson at DM. Fabinho was dropped after poor displays against Fulham and Palace.
The bench was extremely light, with ten players out through injury/suspension. Naby Keita was the latest to join the list after pulling up with an unspecified injury on Sunday. He’s in talks for a new deal but is weakening his case with every knock.
° Yet another slow start. It’s become a theme lately. From the end of last season through to the early weeks of this new campaign, the Reds are stumbling out of the blocks in games. With United starting aggressively last night, there was only going to be one winner.
First warning sign came when Robertson gave the ball away cheaply, two passes later, Elanga was through on goal. The youngster clipped the post with his finish but it was a sign of what was to come. Liverpool continued to stagger through the opening exchanges.
° Sancho opens the scoring. I watched a video before the game where Carragher suggested he’d have loved to play alongside Trent because he feels his leadership, organisation and vocal style would have helped the right back stay switched on defensively.
That made a lot of sense. As soon as Elanga laid the ball to Eriksen, I was screaming for Trent to track the Swede’s run. He didn’t. Eriksen returned the pass and it was a simple cross to Sancho on the penalty spot. Sancho sold Milner a filthy dummy before slotting home, with Van Dijk not even attempting to close the shot down.
° Conceding first for the umpteenth time. For the seventh league game in a row, Liverpool conceded the first goal in a game. They’re starting games woefully and giving teams a headstart. They created nothing themselves first half, and didn’t even manage a shot on target.
Liverpool were behind at halftime on just one occasion in the 2021/22 campaign. That came in the title showdown at the Etihad. They’ve trailed at the break in all 3 games in this campaign.
° Real problem. Since the Community Shield, Liverpool have been way too easy to play against. Bobby dropped so deep last night, and with Diaz staying wide, Salah was left isolated. We looked toothless upfront but remained wide open to the counter attack.
° Rashford makes it two. A bouncing ball in midfield and under no pressure, Henderson panicked like he is prone to do, knocking it straight to Martial who had the simple task of playing Rashford through on goal to finish past Alisson. A tight VAR call went their way and it was 2-0.
° Glaring midfield inadequacy. I felt sorry for James Milner last night. The 36 year old is a great professional and still has a role to play, but starting away at Old Trafford isn’t it. He looked past it last night. The skipper wasn’t much better either.
The onus was then left on the young shoulders of Harvey Elliott. The 19 year old tried his best but that wasn’t enough on the night. He attempted the most shots (4) of any Liverpool player, with only Salah creating more chances (4) in the game.
° Tactical rigidity. We went 2-0 down after 53 minutes, yet for the next 20 minutes the manager maintained a 4-3-3 setup. His only alteration in that time was a like for like sub, taking Henderson off for Fabinho. Options on the bench were indeed limited.
Carvalho was the only attack minded option on the bench but wasn’t introduced until the 73rd minute (for the ineffective Milner). He showed courage in driving at the United defence and caused mayhem with his presence in and around the box.
Why the manager insists on a three man midfield when adequate options are sorely lacking remains a frustrating mystery. He has utilised a 4-2-3-1 in the past with Salah leading the line. Harvey could line up on the right like Shaqiri did back then, drifting central to create.
° Salah pulls one back. The vibrant Carvalho saw a shot deflected behind for a corner before another rasping drive inside the box was parried by De Gea. Salah reacted quickest to the loose ball, nodding home at the near post. The game was back on with 9 minutes plus stoppages to go.
Mohamed Salah has now netted 10 goals for Liverpool in 11 appearances against Manchester United. That’s more than any player has managed for either side in the history of this fixture. He’s also equalled Steven Gerrard’s PL goal tally for Liverpool (120) in 321 less appearances.
° What’s happened to the defence? Both fullbacks were poor again last night. With Ramsay injured since pre-season and Tsimikas being underwhelming as well, there’s not much alternative/competition.
Van Dijk is another who was below par. Individually and collectively, the defence needs to sharpen up. Just 1 clean sheet in the last 11 games across all competitions suggests a clear issue.
° What’s next? Liverpool are next in action on Saturday at home to Bournemouth. The Reds badly need a pick me up. The Cherries are coming off the back of two beatings at the hands of City and Arsenal. If we fail to pick up three points, we’d have a full blown crisis on our hands.
For a manager who prides himself on work on the training pitch, Klopp hasn’t gotten his side to play better even with a full week of training between games. There’s work for the manager to do, and not only in training. Reinforcements are needed.
3 thoughts on “MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 LIVERPOOL: MATCH REVIEW”
Liverpool have always had issues with that midfield whenever any of the currently preferred midfielders gets injured, but we still find a way to squeeze out the win.
I think we’ve ridden to far on that wave and it has to stop.
It pains me for Firmino but he has lost his strikers instinct, but the affinity for playing dip is still there, why not play him in the midfield role. We could have seen that happen had Nunez not receive a straight red and match bans to go along with.
There’s still a major problem In our attack because we have just one option to spare and he’s just getting to know the team. The injury crisis in Liverpool is crazy!
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Well said. I feel the gaffer has to change shape to accommodate for the lack of options in midfield atm.
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