As many as four injuries in the first-half disrupted Manchester United’s rhythm, as they played out a goalless draw against arch-rivals Liverpool on Sunday.
Manchester United slipped down to the fifth spot in the Premier League standings, after they were held to a goalless draw by bitter rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday.
In what was a tense affair, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were dealt a bad hand early in the game as midfield mainstay Ander Herrera had to come off injured. Soon after, Juan Mata too had to be replaced by Jesse Lingard, who had the best chance of the first-half, but was denied by some fine work by Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson.
The attempt at goal would turn out to be Lingard’s last action, as he too came off with an injury. Amidst all this, star striker Marcus Rashford too had picked up an ankle knock and was playing through the pain barrier as half-time arrived with United using up all three of their substitutions.
Post the break, neither teams were able to conjure up any meaningful opportunities. Manchester United did have a goal ruled out for offside, after Liverpool defender Joel Matip had diverted the ball into his own net, while Chris Smalling missed a golden opportunity to seal the win for his team late in the game, as both teams ended up sharing the spoils.
A hard-fought game ends in a stalemate. #MUNLIV
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 24, 2019
Considering the circumstances, the Red Devils did well to keep their shape and put in a disciplined display to hold on for a point. And here’s how the Manchester United stars fared on the day at Old Trafford;
David de Gea: 6/10
Handled Ashley Young’s backpass early in the game to concede a free-kick, which was the only blip on what was a comfortable day at the office. Wasn’t called into action much, as Liverpool had just one shot on target, despite bossing possession. Got his 100th Premier League clean sheet.
Ashley Young: 6/10
Didn’t do his goalkeeper any favour with a poor pass early in the game, but recovered well and led his team well on the day. Dealt with the threat of Sadio Mane fairly well, while his set-piece delivery was also on point.
Chris Smalling: 8/10
A colossal performance from the England international after being picked ahead of Eric Bailly, more so considering that there was no Nemanja Matic to shield the backline on Sunday. Organized things at the back, guided the young midfield duo of Scott McTominay and Andreas Pereira in front of him. The missed chance to seal the win late in the game was the only blot on his copybook on Sunday.
Victor Lindelof: 8/10
The Swedish centre-half continued to enhance his growing reputation as United’s main man in defence, with another solid and confident performance. Was strong in the air and made a number of crucial clearances, dealing with Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge without much of a fuss.
Luke Shaw: 8/10
The former Southampton starlet is finally starting to live up to his immense potential, with a series of consistent performances. Shaw was exceptional on Sunday, completely nullifying the threat of Salah, while also being alert enough to deal with the runs of full-back James Milner. Made a number of key interventions, playing a vital role in United’s clean sheet.
Ander Herrera: 5/10
Began the game in his typical energetic fashion, before a hamstring injury brought a premature end to his day just twenty minutes into the match.
Scott McTominay: 6.5/10
The Scotsman made his first start since December, coming into the team for the injured Matic and gave a good account of himself. Did the defensive side of things well and used the ball well when in possession. Solid if not spectacular.
Paul Pogba: 7/10
It was not on the same level of Pogba’s recent displays, but the Frenchman still was crucial for Manchester United against the Reds. His passing wasn’t always as accurate as it could have been, but he showed great control and determination to put in the hard yards on both ends of the field. Disciplined, which was the need of the hour and made the most interceptions in the game.
Juan Mata: 5/10
Another of Manchester United’s first-half casualties, Mata’s biggest contribution was the excellent challenge on Salah on the edge of the United box, right before he was taken off.
Romelu Lukaku: 5.5/10
Created an excellent chance for Lingard with a brilliant through ball in the first period and produced a weak headed effort straight at Alisson. Needed to do more on a day when United had been battered with injuries. Did produce the cross for Smalling’s chance late on, but not good enough.
Marcus Rashford: 5.5/10
The academy graduate was going to be United’s chief threat in attack, but an early ankle injury following a bad challenge from Jordan Henderson that went unpunished curtailed his impact. Played with the pain and pushed himself to the maximum extent – made the most number of sprints in the game despite being injured. Brave, but understandably ineffective.
Andreas Pereira: 7/10
Replaced the injured Herrera in the middle of the park and put in an energetic display filled with aggression. Played an important role in limiting Liverpool’s chances on the day.
Jesse Lingard: 5/10
Replacing Mata early in the first-half, the England international lasted less than twenty minutes on the field, before being subbed off with a hamstring problem. Prior to that, had the best chance of the game, but was denied by Alisson’s brilliance.
Alexis Sanchez: 5/10
Coming on for the injured Lingard, Alexis started off brightly and worked hard, but struggled to make a meaningful impact in the final third.