Five Things We Learned: Man United 2 Liverpool 1

1) Liverpool have nothing to be embarrassed about

Yes we lost and yes it was pretty darn terrible but as far as I am concerned, Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have nothing to be embarrassed about. That match went perfectly with Mourinho’s plan. A couple of long balls and some solid finishing thanks to errors in defence, once United were 2-0 up it was always going to be immensely difficult for the likes of Mane, Salah and Firmino to get through.

Image via Irish Independent

Mourinho plays a very negative game and it gets them results but if anybody tries to tell me United play better football than Liverpool, they can jog on. I would much rather watch the football we play with flair players leading the attack than turn up to watch a relatively bland United side slog out another last-minute win and have Fellaini as a key player. Mourinho is the first to complain when a side plays long ball against his team but when he does it? Genius. It drives me mad. Let them have their moment, I still think we’ll finish above them in the table.

2) Lovren not a strong enough partner for VVD

Dejan has definitely improved of late but I’m not convinced he is the long-term partner for Virgil, nor am I convinced that it’s Matip. On occasions against United, Lovren was caught completely off guard, VVD has added some command and stability to the defence but he can’t ensure his teammates are always making the correct decision. Lovren’s positioning at points was questionable, to say the least, and I just don’t think it’s a workable option for the Reds looking forward to next season.

3) Hendo brings more than we realise

The captain didn’t even feature in this clash and I never thought I’d find myself sat there at half time asking for him to come on. I just feel like he would have brought some calmness to the side and would have provided more freedom to Can for example to power forward, both of them could then act as stronger links to the struggling forwards. 

Oxlade-Chamberlain had a pretty poor game and I honestly thought it would be Hendo replacing him.

4) Sadio Mane had an off day

I love Mane, he’s on the back of my shirt this year, but bloody hell he had a bit of a mare on Saturday. Passing from the whole side, in general, was sloppy but Mane on several occasions lacked accuracy.

Decision-making while on the attack was also lacking, the link up between Sadio and Firmino/Salah usually comes naturally but it was a real struggle to make things work against United.

5) Klopp doesn’t like to make early tactical changes

Point three above led me on to this one, I was trying to think back to big fixtures under Klopp and I’m not sure he’s a fan of early tactical changes. Not many managers to be fair will watch a first half, note that there’s a tactical issue and then be brave enough to make that change prior to 60 minutes but the Reds have had managers in the past that would stick their neck out and do so.

I felt on Saturday a change was needed relatively quickly, it didn’t come until 62 minutes and even when it did it wasn’t necessarily a tactical move to switch Oxlade with Lallana. The whole thing just got me thinking, Klopp is very much a subber of like-for-like players, partly because Klopp’s tactics are simple in nature; press and attack. There are going to be times though where a clear tactical change is required to salvage something and I’m interested to focus more now on how the boss deals with these situations.

We’ve seen him chuck on attackers and pull off defenders but I’ll be paying more attention I think to the more thoughtful subs in key upcoming fixtures.




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Source: The Liver Bird