Mignolet required in 5 things learned from Liverpool v Man United
So Liverpool are not ‘the last wonder of the world’ according to Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, but what other observations of a less sardonic nature can be picked off the bones of a most unpalatable stalemate between the rivals on Monday night?
Here are five things gleaned…
Liverpool’s Plan B is actually just Plan A repeated
In the wake of one of the most expectation-dampening 0-0’s in recent memory, Jurgen Klopp’s men have just about clung to their second-favourite status for the title, although they’ve drifted to level-pegging with the Premier League’s in-form team, Arsenal at 9/2.
Having been tamed with relative ease by a tenacious United side the legitimacy of Liverpool’s claims were slightly undermined. Those who label Klopp’s management style as one-dimensional were to some extent ratified. Knocked off their regular tempo by Mourinho’s disruptive defensive tactics, the Reds ran out of ideas to some degree.
Man United are still in the race…just
United’s precise point-extraction exercise on Merseyside may not have thrilled, but after a weekend punctuated by draws for the ‘title contenders’, they have shortened from 16s, to 14/1 chances with us.
It sure ain’t pretty, but when has that ever bothered the arch pragmatist that Mourinho is? If the Red Devils boss gets something out of his old stomping ground next at Stamford Bridge, such as all three points, then murmurings that the Old Trafford giants can mix it this season will begin in earnest.
Loris Karius isn’t ready for the gloves
Liverpool’s hastily promoted young keeper has attracted his fair share of doubters already and this latest nerve-riddled horror show will have converted hoards more to that disposition.
Ed Balls’ cumbersome footwork on Strictly Come Dancing looked positively dainty compared to the German’s who, were it not for the lifeline of the offside flag, would have been guilty of gifting Zlatan Ibrahimovic the opener.
The obviously uncomfortable stopper who somehow decided to play a pass back first time straight to Paul Pogba, later simply hoofed one out of play with seconds remaining on the clock. The 23-year-old needs some time on the training ground while Simon Mignolet returns to the fold.
Ander Herrera is proving his worth at last
It’s been quite a long time coming for the man signed in summer 2014, but after a rare run in the side under his second United manager, Herrera’s man-of-the-match display at Anfield felt like a landmark.
Making the defensive midfield role his own, these tweeted stats explain the Spaniard’s display better than any words.
Ander Herrera's match stats vs Liverpool:
5/5 take-ons completed
— Devils Latest (@Devils_Latest) October 17, 2016
No place for Sturridge in Klopp’s best XI
He may have scored 55 goals in his first 100 Liverpool appearances, but centurion-on-the-night Sturridge’s complete anonymity was rendered conspicuous by the effect his withdrawal had on Liverpool’s attacking performance.
With clever thinker Adam Lallana restored to central midfield when replacing him after just an hour and Roberto Firmino pushed into the England man’s vacated space, the Reds’ goal threat immediately increased (although it couldn’t have diminished much further).
Firmino showed greater verve and dynamism in his movement and had the Brazilian taken a more cushioned first touch after Philippe Coutinho’s exquisite flick, then the points may have been Liverpool’s.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing