Liverpool were nowhere near their best against Manchester United, but a point was enough for them to move to the top of the Premier League standings.
Liverpool reclaimed the top spot in the 2018-19 Premier League table, following their goalless draw against arch-enemies Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.
Coming into the match level on points with Manchester City with a game in hand, Liverpool had the perfect opportunity to go three points clear of the reigning champions, as Manchester United were forced to alter their gameplan completely following three first-half substitutions. The visitors also lost a player to injury in the first period, with Roberto Firmino getting replaced by Daniel Sturridge.
However, Jurgen Klopp’s men failed to capitalize on the situation, despite dominating the possession for most of the game. Indeed, Liverpool managed to muster up just a single shot on target throughout the match, with the home team managing to stifle them, restricting them to speculative efforts from distance for most parts.
Instead, it was United who had the two best chances of the game, with Jesse Lingard getting denied by Alisson in the first-half, while Chris Smalling missed a golden opportunity to win the game late on. Joel Matip’s own goal was chalked off for offside in the build-up. Having survived the scare, Liverpool held on for a point to move to the top spot, one point ahead of City.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 24, 2019
Here’s how the Reds’ stars fared on their visit to Old Trafford;
Alisson Becker: 7/10
Having hardly been called into action in the opening stages, the Brazilian international showed great awareness and reaction to charge out and close Lingard down in the first period. Assured display after his performance against Bayern in the midweek.
James Milner: 5/10
Surprisingly chosen over Trent Alexander-Arnold at right-back, despite his recent struggles in the position, Milner walked a defensive tightrope for most of the game, having earned a booking in the 24th minute for a foul on Paul Pogba. Was a willing runner, offering an outlet down the right-hand side but the end product was lacking.
Joel Matip: 7/10
The Cameroonian coped well with the physical threat of Romelu Lukaku and was eager to carry the ball out of the back, with one such surging run earning a free-kick in a dangerous area. Scored an embarrassing own goal, but had his blushes spared by the offside flag. A solid performance in the overall sense.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
The towering Dutch centre-half made two very important defensive headers in the first period – one clearing a goal-bound effort from Pogba and was near unbeatable in the aerial battles for the rest of the game. Saw plenty of the ball as the game progressed and used it intelligently. A solid return to the starting XI for the mainstay.
Andy Robertson: 6.5/10
Produced a sensational cross in the first-half, but nobody could get on the end of the opportunity. Did well to stop Lukaku getting a clear contact with a header, but seemed to have picked up a knock after the collision. Not his best attacking display, but was a solid and reliable presence at the back.
Jordan Henderson: 6.5/10
Tasked with stifling Pogba in the middle of the park, the Liverpool captain did his job well, although lacked much creativity in the middle. Showed his experience, conceding a number of tactical fouls to stop the home team in their tracks. Taken off for Xherdan Shaqiri to his displeasure.
Moving into the holding midfield role after featuring as a centre-back last time out, the Brazilian international essayed his role to perfection. Broke up play in the middle of the park consistently, was strong in his tackles and in air, while his distribution was also on point.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
The Dutchman was his usual industrious self in the middle of the park, offering a sense of calm and composure to Liverpool, helping them keep control of possession. Lacked his usual impact in the final third though, nevertheless, one of the Reds’ better players on Sunday.
Mohamed Salah: 4/10
Was extremely poor on a day when Liverpool needed him to step up against a big opponent. Hardly caused any problems to the Manchester United backline, with Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelof dealing with him comfortably. Fired a free-kick well over from a decent position. Rightly taken off for the final ten minutes or so.
Roberto Firmino: 5/10
Started well, but had to come off after twisting his ankle in the first period. His absence deprived Liverpool of their usual fluidity in the final third.
Sadio Mane: 5/10
A rare off day for Liverpool’s in-form forward. Was lively and managed to get past Ashley Young on occasions, but couldn’t come up with the goods that could have fired Liverpool to an important victory.
Daniel Sturridge: 4/10
Replaced the injured Firmino at the half-hour mark. Got Liverpool’s only shot on target, an effort from distance which was easily saved by David de Gea. Did little of note apart from that.
Xherdan Shaqiri: 5/10
Thrown on for Henderson with a little under twenty minutes left to be played as Klopp pressed for a winner. Could not make the desired impact from the right flank.
Divock Origi: N/A
Came on for Salah in the 79th minute. No impact.