Even though the importance of this fixture has dwindled in recent years , in terms of its stature at the top of Premier league , there is no two opinions that it is still the biggest club game in British football and no other rivalry comes close to the Manchester United vs Liverpool one.
The match on Sunday might have finished goalless , but it had its own share of drama and excitement even before the kick – off and Liverpool who even though sit at the top of Premier league summit will feel it was a matter of two points dropped rather than a point won looking at how the game started for the Old Trafford side with all three substitutions made within the first half hour and Striker Marcus Rashford playing a fair amount of time injured and is a doubt for his team’s next game against Crystal palace on Wednesday.
So let’s see where it all went wrong for the team from Merseyside. Here are the three possible reasons Liverpool failed to beat United:
- Salah’s struggle :
The fact that the reigning player of the year was substituted with 10 mins left showed how ineffective Salah was in the game against Liverpool’s arch rivals once again. He is yet to score against Manchester united and came no where close to finding the back of the net yet again.The Egyptian barely had a positive kick of the ball and was covered brilliantly by luke shaw in the wide area and was unable to find space centrally. With the most important phase of the season coming up, Salah will have to play a crucial role if Liverpool are to win the league after years of waiting.Depth of the squad:
2. Depth of the squad :
Not just United, Liverpool too had an injury blow in the first half with Roberto Firmino going out injured. Liverpool have good options from the bench but too much dependence on the front three means goals from the other areas are a big concern. Liverpool midfielders are more of runners than creators. Wijnaldum , Henderson and Fabinho are all good at occupying a major part of the field and ball control but they don’t do to their team what likes of David Silva and Eriksen do to their’s and that’s creating opening and chances. So when the front three don’t fire , their team is in trouble . And that’s exactly what happened on Sunday with firmino going out and Salah and Mane totally misfiring their weakness to score and create from other areas was exposed.
3. Low Performance Level :
This was a massive chance for Liverpool to take a giant step towards the title and gain all three points at the top. They should have been all guns blazing: pressing, energy, movement , tempo, shots on goals from all possible angles like a Klopps team, but sadly none of it was on show despite the injury crisis that hit United in the first half, leaving Klopp fuming on the touchline.The fact that De Gea hardly had a save to make with a shot from firmino’s replacement sturridge their only shot on target in the 90 minutes.
Their inability to open up opposition teams who defend in numbers must be a real concern for klopp, because they are sure to meet more sides who will do the same in next few weeks.
Next up for Liverpool it’s Watford at home, then Everton away—and from here until the end of the season, every match has become must-win.
It’s still in Liverpool’s hands, yes, but there is no further margin for error. Man City will be relentless in their pursuit, ready to pounce on any slip-ups—so any more dropped points for the Reds must, from a psychological perspective, come only after City themselves have failed to win.
There will still be another twist or two in the final stretch of games, but a win each time and the title is Liverpool’s.