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    Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United Match Report


    Liverpool were denied a fifth successive win in the Premier League by a resolute Manchester United side in a game which failed to live up to the pre-match hype and ended in a goalless draw.

    On a night of few chances, it took a masterclass of defensive organisation and tactical discipline to finally thwart the home side's excellent run of form which had seen them score 26 goals already this season.

    Jurgen Klopp's team did improve after the break, having failed to find their passing rhythm in a subdued first-half display, but they were denied by the superlatives of David Ge Dea on two separate occasions.

    United had chances of their own to secure an unlikely away win, the best of which fell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was unable to show the ruthless streak that he had displayed in the opening weeks of the season.



    Mourinho's intentions were perhaps clear from the start when he recalled Marouane Fellaini to his starting line-up to offer a physical presence in midfield in place of more creative players such as Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard.

    Wayne Rooney was another notable absentee for a fourth successive game, with Marcus Rashford remaining in attack, while the away side were dealt a blow ahead of kick-off when Anthony Martial picked-up a knee injury in training.

    Liverpool had two key absentees of their own, with Adam Lallana only fit enough for the bench and Georginio Wijnaldum unable to recover from the hamstring injury he picked up on international duty playing for The Netherlands.



    The Reds failed to impose their dominance in the early stages of the match, despite having most of the ball, and struggled to find the pockets of space that have been available to them on so many occasions this season.

    It was in fact United who wasted the first chance of the contest as Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired a free-kick harmlessly over the crossbar from 35 yards following a foul on Paul Pogba by Joel Matip.

    Loris Karius, who looked nervy between the Liverpool sticks throughout the evening, enjoyed one of his better moments in the first-half when his strong hand pushed Rashford's dangerous low cross away from danger.



    Liverpool had to wait nearly half-an-hour to seriously threaten a well-disciplined United back-four as Roberto Firmino finally found the space to direct a header on target from close-range, which was comfortably saved by De Gea.

    The home side survived a huge scare at the start of the second-half when Karius attempted to pass out from the back but instead found Pogba, who nearly created a glorious chance for Ibrahimovic but the referee's assistant raised his flag for offside.

    The two combined again minutes later to create United's best chance of the match, with Pogba's pinpoint cross finding Ibrahimovic just four yards from goal but his badly miscued header went harmlessly across the six-yard box.



    After rarely threatening in the opening hour of the contest, Liverpool finally found some of their usual attacking cohesion that had been lacking in their performance and they managed to stir an unusually quiet Anfield crowd into life in the process.

    It wasn't long before they created their best chance of the evening, with Emre Can weaving past both Danny Blind and Chris Smalling to create a shooting opportunity but his low strike was expertly palmed away at full-stretch by the diving De Gea.

    Adam Lallana was introduced to proceedings after 60 minutes to open up some much-needed pockets of space and he could have made an instant impact when his give-and-go with Firmino created a shooting opportunity but his effort went harmlessly wide of goal.

    After having a relatively quiet evening by his usual standards, Philippe Coutinho then suddenly burst into life when he unleashed a trademark 30 yard effort, which looked to be curling into the corner but was expertly tipped away by a flying right-handed save from De Gea.



    United were unwilling to take any undue risks in the latter stages of the match but Fellaini did find himself unmarked from Blind's corner but he was unable to find the pace and accuracy to trouble Karius with 10 minutes remaining.

    It looked like the deadlock would be finally broken in the dying seconds when Firmino found himself clear on goal, from Coutinho's flick-on, but he was denied by a last-ditch tackle by Eric Bailly to preserve a hard-earned a point for the 20-time Champions.

    In many ways, it was a classic away performance by a Jose Mourinho side with his team denying Liverpool the time and space to dictate the tempo of the match while also keeping clear-cut chances to a minimum.

    United did have to rely on the brilliance of David De Gea in goal when the chances finally came in the second-half but Liverpool ultimately failed to do enough to win the game over the course of the 90 minutes.



    There is no doubt that coming away from Anfield with a 0-0 draw was a case of mission accomplished for Mourinho, whose side recorded their lowest ever statistic of 35 per cent possession since OPTA started recording the data.

    United remain three points behind Liverpool in seventh position as they prepare for Thursday night's Europa League clash with Fenerbahce and a trip to Stamford Bridge three days later.

    Jurgen Klopp's side started slowly despite dominating possession, lacking not only the passing fluency that many have come to expect from Liverpool this season but also a cutting-edge in the final third of the field.



    The introduction of Adam Lallana with half-an-hour remaining seemed to inject more pace into the home side's attack and they will be desperate for him to be back fully-fit ahead of the Saturday tea-time visit of West Brom.

    It was definitely a case of two points dropped for Liverpool, who now trail both Manchester City and Arsenal by two points in the table and also sit a point behind Tottenham Hotspur in fourth position.
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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