Manchester United managed to punch above their weight to continue their good string of results against a top-six opposition. The Red Devils managed to halt the Merseyside’s purple patch of 17 wins in a row after the teams shared the honours as Adam Lallana left it late on the Devil’s turf. The question pondering upon the Mancunians is that whether this is a sign of better things to come or will the slump prolong?
Opting for a major tweak in the formation, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer received a late blow when Axel Tuanzebe got injured during the warm-ups. Playing with a back three with Aaron Wan Bisakka and Ashley Young as the wing-backs, the Red Devils had a clear agenda in mind to deal with the ferocious front three of their arch-rivals, even without Mohammad Salah in the vicinity.
The ability to keep impactful players such as Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino quiet was one of the biggest positives that the three-time Champions League-winning team can carry forward. The squad can take the belief that they managed to silence one of Europe’s best attacking force even though it was in the comfort of Old Trafford.
The Red Devils’ defence which was heavily upgraded in the summer has become the strength of the squad with the back-line being reliable, unlike the past.
While the talk of the lack of creativity remains on the table, United managed to be clinical on the night they needed to be the most. Being aware that they won’t be able to create many chances, they managed to convert the best chance they got. Marcus Rashford’s movement in the box to deceive his counterpart Joel Matip for the goal is a huge boost for the club which currently lacks genuine goal-scoring prospects and also the youngster’s growth as a striker.
Another reason why this fixture will turn out to be the turning point of the season for Manchester United is the manner with which they denied Liverpool a single genuine chance apart from the goal. The Merseyside boasted possession of 68%, It is not usual of this current Liverpool team to be subdued in the opposition half with a possession rate that high.
Manchester United’s revamped pressing, tackling and interceptions were indications of the midfield being as much as in the game, which is exactly what the team needs at the moment. The involvement in the middle of the park which was fading away as of late was seen on the pristine turf.
With the season reaching its one-third mark, Manchester United are way off their target but a spirited performance against their arch-rivals was exactly what they needed to set things back on track. They now have something which was missing over the last couple of weeks, that is belief. Although there is room for improvement, the manner in which they stayed neck-to-neck with the league leaders is a huge boost for their on-field display as well as the mentality.