Editor’s Note: Come back throughout the Manchester United vs Liverpool match for updated player ratings.
Here we are! The marquee match-up (in brands only) of Premier League matchday 9.
Interesting set-up by Ole Gunnar Solskjær today. He opts for a 3-4-3 with Ashley Young and Aaron Wan-Bissaka on the midfield flanks. Expect a heavy heat map up Trent Alexander-Arnold’s side against Young.
So…other than one brilliant run, TAA hasn’t exploited that side much. If you look at the first half heat map, most of the attack is from Robbo’s flank. However…Man U spending more time in Liverpool’s half. The 1-0 half-time lead, while aided by VAR, is also deserved.
In the second half, it was all United. Klopp made substitution and formation changes that didn’t work…until it did!
Naby Keita (!!!) came on late and hockey assisted Andy Robertson to Adam Lallana for the equalizer.
Statistically, Liverpool were the better side. They had 68% possession and 10 shots / 4 on target to 7 / 2. But Man U looked better for large stretches. What you notice with Mo Salah’s absense though is how his gravitational pull impacts Liverpool’s attack. His ability to draw defenders creates shot-making opportunities that were lacking today (only 10 shots).
Check out the heat map at the end of the game. Crazy.
At the end of the day, Liverpool have been somewhat lucky this season. Man U had been unlucky. It all evened out today. Liverpool escapes with a 1-1 draw to remain unbeaten and six clear of City.
Finally, special credit given to Daniel James. That’s one tough bugger.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (6) – Rests Mo Salah which is understandable when you’re facing a bottom-half club and have a Champions League match mid-week.
So…Klopp is usually solid at half-time adjustments but we look worse after the half. He opts to sub Origi off in the 60th minute, but Divock has been among the better players. Why not Henderson? Klopp clearly irritated and not pulling the right strings today. Shifts tactically to a 4-3-1-2 with Gini as a #10 and Mane and Bobby up top. Interesting. See if that works.
Nope. With the sub of Lallana for Hendo, Klopp moves to a 4-4-2.
Then subs off one of our better big game players in Gini for our worst player in Keita🤦♂️ and shifts to a 4-2-3-1. Lots of changing there.
Keita plays a key role in the Lallana equalizer. Brilliant.
Alisson (5) – Welcome back! This is the perfect match against an offensively challenged, average-at-best opponent to ease Alisson back in. Looks a little rusty early, bobbling an easy ball on ground and some confidence-lacking distribution. Nothing he could do on the goal, left to dry.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6) – First real drive up the flank with a brilliantly paced run in the 15th minute. More lively in second half. Ambitious strike at end of regulation to take lead just misses.
Virgil van Dijk (5) – Some poor early defending, leaving a gap for Man U to exploit. Rashford got the best of him in a phsyical showdown in the 21st. Came up big to clear a gorgeous AWB cross in the 28th. We should buy AWB. Terrible casualness jogging to goal on the Rashford opener.
Joel Matip (6) – The PFA Player of the Month is back in after missing some time with a minor knock. Solid defending early. Poor defending on Rashford opener. Must get body on it. Otherwise solid.
Andy Robertson (7.5) – Should be an interesting match-up with AWB all over him. Wonderful defending on set piece in 10th minute to block and clear out a threat. Gets the assist on the Lallana goal. Best of the backline today.
Jordan Henderson (4) – Having what would be described as a “Bad Gini” first half of anonymous and sometimes reckless play. Off for Lallana in the 71st. Poor display.
Fabinho (6.5) – These white kits make Fabinho pop out more on the pitch for some reason. Anyway, perfectly positioned in opening minutes to clear a dangerous cross in the box. Continually stealing Fred’s lunch money. However, earned another yellow on a [wise] challenge on a James penetration.
Georginio Wijnaldum (6.5) – Gini always looks best in a more front-footed role. He’s feeling confident from his international break brace as he ambitiously goes for goal in the 13th. Great footwork and calm under pressure today. I bet Gini gets our first goal today.
Nevermind, goes silent in second half and subbed off for Keita.
Roberto Firmino (4) – Looks way off early. Heavy heavy touches. Utterly rec league muffing of a shot in the 10th. Should’ve been more clinical on finish in 34th minute. Have to put those away. Couldn’t link up at all. Worst domestic showing of season.
Sadio Mane (7) – Odd sequence in 18th minute. Received ball from Firmino in the box and instead of challenging the two defenders or making a clear pass back to Henderson, just stood with it until closed out and passed further back to TAA. However, showing GREAT physicality today. Great ball in to Firmino in 34th that should’ve been a goal with a better finish.
Utterly robbed of goal by VAR review by Atkinson. Awful reffing.
Liked what I saw today. Lots of fight. However, minus the incorrectly called handball goal, he registered zero xG for the day. Need more offensively. Again, shows how Salah opens things up for him.
Divock Origi (6) – Gets the start over a resting Mo Salah. Shows great physicality early. Unjustly yanked early in second half for Ox.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (7) – Came in 60th minute for Origi. Almost nets winner on great strike outside the box in stoppage.
Adam Lallana (7) – On for Henderson in the 71st. Gets the equalizer! Well done, Lallana.
Naby Keita (NR) – First appearance of season, on for Gini. Plays key role in Lallana equalizer. Looked lively.
MAN OF THE MATCH
While over the course of 90, Robbo was our best player today…Lallana deserves it for netting the equalizer and looking solid throughout.