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Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United

By Phil McNultyChief football writer at Anfield
Manchester United keeper David de Gea saves a shot from Philippe Coutinho
Manchester United keeper David de Gea saves a shot from Philippe Coutinho

Liverpool and Manchester United played out a goalless and uneventful stalemate on a disappointing night at Anfield.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool would have drawn level on points with leaders Manchester City with a fifth successive Premier League victory, but were subdued by a classic Jose Mourinho performance of defensive organisation and discipline.

United did not allow Liverpool to build the momentum and intensity that has characterised their game this season, while Mourinho's limited attacking ambitions ensured chances were at a premium.

The Portuguese was still grateful for two fine second-half saves from goalkeeper David de Gea, who dived low to stop Emre Can and saved athletically from Philippe Coutinho's 25-yard effort.

United's best chance also came in the second half, but the unmarked Zlatan Ibrahimovic directed Paul Pogba's cross off target.

The visitors had just 35% of possession - their lowest in a Premier League match since Opta began recording the data in 2003-04.

Mourinho turns tables on Liverpool

Man Utd's Jose Mourinho is back to his controlling best

While this deadlock does little for the ambitions of both teams, there is no doubt who will be the happier manager.

This was, in so many respects, the most Mourinho performance of his short time at United.

Klopp came on to the pitch at the final whistle to applaud Liverpool's fans, but there was a tinge of disappointment in his measured tread as he trudged off.

His side's promising start to the season has been built on pressing opponents into submission - a high-pressure style that has brought victories at Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as nine goals in two home wins against Leicester City and Hull City.

But Mourinho picked a powerful, athletic side and instructed them to turn the tables on Liverpool's pressing game.

Ander Herrera was at the heart of United's smothering gameplan, almost operating in the pockets of Coutinho and Roberto Firmino in midfield, while Liverpool were never given a second.

They simply could not find a way through.

United held their shape and discipline, much to their manager's satisfaction, although he still needed those two superb saves from De Gea, and a magnificent saving tackle from Antonio Valencia to stop Firmino as he raced in on goal.

It was classic Mourinho, a tactic he has perfected and utilised throughout his career, and Anfield's increasing anger and frustration will have been music to his ears.

Manchester United's touchmap (right) shows how many fewer touches they had in the opposition box than Liverpool
United's touchmap (right) shows how few touches they had in the opposition box compared to Liverpool

Peripheral Pogba

This match should have been the perfect stage for the £89m Pogba - but once again he was a peripheral figure.

The world's most expensive player was used in a more advanced role and is certainly on the same wavelength as Ibrahimovic, delivering a perfect cross which the Swede should have converted.

In other aspects, though, he operated on the margins of the game and failed to exert the influence expected of a player of his quality and experience.

United will expect much more as the season goes on.

Referee Taylor keeps control

Anthony Taylor was the man in the middle in every sense after the heat generated by the appointment of the Manchester-based official for a meeting between these two fierce rivals.

Mourinho said the appointment made it "difficult" for Taylor, and put him under pressure - comments being investigated by the Football Association - while former referee Keith Hackett even suggested it represented a risk to his and his family's safety.

It certainly increased the scrutiny on Taylor, who felt the wrath of The Kop within minutes - complete with colourful reminders about his place of residence - when he did not book Marcus Rashford for a foul on James Milner.

It was to the official's credit that he did not buckle in the atmosphere, kept discipline without resorting to a rash of yellow cards, and controlled a game that always has explosive potential.

Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd: Jurgen Klopp says result better than performance

Man of the match - Ander Herrera

Ander Herrera
Ander Herrera had the most touches (90) of any United player

What they said:

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp: "I am not frustrated but I am not happy with the performance. No-one will show this game in 10 or 20 years but we could have played better.

"It was a hectic game, interrupted here and there, but we lost patience with our passing game. The attitude of my team was really good. We were ready to fight but when you can play better, you have to.

"The kind of defence is difficult to play. The man-marking is really difficult, they are stronger than us. We wasted energy in the first half for nothing. The second half was better and with fresher legs in second half we could have created more."

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho: "It is not the result we wanted but it is a positive result. It is a result that stops a direct opponent getting three points at home, so not a bad result.

"The game was difficult for both teams but for longer periods it was more difficult for them than us.

"We controlled the game not just tactically but the emotion of the game. That was probably the quietest Anfield I had and I was expecting it to be the other way.

"It was a positive performance."

Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd: Jose Mourinho says side controlled game and crowd

Analysis:

Former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage on BBC Radio 5 live: "Liverpool have not played well tonight and United have done a job.

"It is the first points that Liverpool have dropped at Anfield. Mourinho has done his job.

"He got a point so it was the right thing to do. They lost a few games this season and have come to Liverpool and got a draw, so you have to say job done.

"But in an attacking sense they offered nothing."

The stats you need to know

  • This is only the second time in Premier League history a meeting between these sides has finished 0-0 (also September 2005).
  • This is Mourinho's lowest points total after his first eight league games with a new club since his stint with Uniao de Leiria (10 points).
  • United had two more points at this stage last season under Louis van Gaal (16) than they do this season (14).
  • Liverpool have failed to score in only two of their 18 home Premier League games under Klopp - both against United.
  • After scoring with four of his first 15 shots in the Premier League, Ibrahimovic has failed to find the net with any of his past 26 in the competition.

What next?

United are next in action when they host Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday (20:05 BST) before returning to Premier League action at Mourinho's former club Chelsea on Sunday (16:00 BST).

Liverpool host West Brom in the 17:30 BST Premier League match on Saturday.

Line-ups

Liverpool

  • 1Karius
  • 2Clyne
  • 32Matip
  • 6Lovren
  • 7MilnerSubstituted forMorenoat 86'minutes
  • 23Can
  • 14Henderson
  • 10Coutinho
  • 19Mané
  • 15SturridgeSubstituted forLallanaat 60'minutes
  • 11FirminoSubstituted forOrigiat 85'minutes

Substitutes

  • 16Grujic
  • 17Klavan
  • 18Moreno
  • 20Lallana
  • 21Leiva
  • 22Mignolet
  • 27Origi

Man Utd

  • 1de Gea
  • 25A Valencia
  • 3BaillyBooked at 44mins
  • 12Smalling
  • 17Blind
  • 21Herrera
  • 27FellainiBooked at 90mins
  • 19RashfordSubstituted forRooneyat 77'minutes
  • 6Pogba
  • 18YoungBooked at 45minsSubstituted forShawat 90+2'minutes
  • 9IbrahimovicBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 5Rojo
  • 8Mata
  • 10Rooney
  • 14Lingard
  • 16Carrick
  • 20Romero
  • 23Shaw
Referee:
Anthony Taylor
Attendance:
52,769

Match Stats

Home TeamLiverpoolAway TeamMan Utd
Possession
Home65%
Away35%
Shots
Home9
Away7
Shots on Target
Home3
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away1
Fouls
Home14
Away20

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Liverpool 0, Manchester United 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Liverpool 0, Manchester United 0.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Manchester United. Luke Shaw replaces Ashley Young.

  4. Booking

    Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Adam Lallana (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United).

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jordan Henderson (Liverpool).

  8. Post update

    Paul Pogba (Manchester United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Booking

    Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  10. Post update

    Emre Can (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).

  12. Post update

    Dejan Lovren (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United).

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Alberto Moreno replaces James Milner.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Liverpool. Divock Origi replaces Roberto Firmino.

  16. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by James Milner with a cross.

  17. Post update

    Sadio Mané (Liverpool) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  18. Post update

    Foul by Paul Pogba (Manchester United).

  19. Post update

    Attempt missed. Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Daley Blind with a cross following a corner.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Manchester United. Conceded by Emre Can.

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