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lunes, 17 de octubre de 2016

Premier: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: David de Gea denies Jurgen Klopp's side as Jose Mourinho makes his point at Anfield


  • Manchester United successfully stifled Liverpool in the opening half as neither created many chances
  • After the second half introduction of Adam Lallana Liverpool woke up and had the better of the game
  • United stopper David de Gea made a pair of wonderful saves to keep the home side at bay

  • Scorelines can be misleading. This one wasn't. Man of the match awards can be misleading, too. This one certainly was.
The result told the dismal story as Red Monday became Dead Monday. In the posh seats in Anfield's redeveloped Main Stand, a father and son yawned as the clock ran down. School the next day would be more exciting than this game.
As for the man of the match, in these pages at least that goes to David de Gea, the Manchester United goalkeeper. Do not let that fool you. Do not think the Spaniard was some kind of comic-book hero, repelling waves of Liverpool attacks in front of the Kop. 
Philippe Coutinho (centre) strikes at goal to force a fantastic save from Manchester United keeper David de Gea
Philippe Coutinho (centre) strikes at goal to force a fantastic save from Manchester United keeper David de Gea
De Gea gets a big glove to the Brazilian's effort to ensure his side left with a point from their much-hyped derby fixture
De Gea gets a big glove to the Brazilian's effort to ensure his side left with a point from their much-hyped derby fixture
Emre Can made his way through the United defence and fired in a shot but saw it saved by De Gea from close range
Emre Can made his way through the United defence and fired in a shot but saw it saved by De Gea from close range
The Spanish stopper proved an unbeatable last line of defence in the second half for United to earn his side the draw
The Spanish stopper proved an unbeatable last line of defence in the second half for United to earn his side the draw
United boss Jose Mourinho made sure his side did not lose at Anfield as he set up for a point and got his wish granted
United boss Jose Mourinho made sure his side did not lose at Anfield as he set up for a point and got his wish granted
Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated as his side were held at bay by a defiant United side determined not to lose
Jurgen Klopp was left frustrated as his side were held at bay by a defiant United side determined not to lose
Liverpool (4-3-3): Karius 6, Clyne 6.5, Matip 7, Lovren 7, Milner 6.5 (Moreno 86), Can 6.5, Henderson 6.5, Coutinho 7, Mane 6.5, Sturridge 5 (Lallana 60 6), Firmino 6.5 (Origi 85).
Unused subs: Grujic, Klavan, Lucas, Mignolet.
Booked: n/a
Manager: Jurgen Klopp 6
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): De Gea 8, Valencia 5, Bailly 6.5, Smalling 7, Blind 6, Fellaini, Pogba 5, Rashford 6.5 (Rooney 77), Ander Herrera 7.5, Young 7 (Shaw 90+2), Ibrahimovic 5.5.
Unused subs: Rojo, Mata, Lingard, Carrick, Romero.
Booked: Bailly, Young, Fellaini, Ibrahimovic  
Manager: Jose Mourinho 6.5
Referee: Anthony Taylor 7
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No, it wasn't like that. It wasn't like that at all. De Gea just showed himself to be the best of a very bad bunch. 
He was only asked to make three saves all night, while at the other end Liverpool's Loris Karius was not required to make a single stop of note.
It just so happens that the two saves De Gea made in the second half were exceptional. So, for that he gets the vote here at the end of a game that promised so much but gave us nothing at all.
What, if anything, did we learn from this, apart from the fact other TV channels are available. Well, we know not to make assumptions about Jose Mourinho. But we knew that already.
The Manchester United manager came to Anfield on a hiding to nothing, according to some hysterical preliminaries. This was supposed to be the night when his stale, unimaginative football was eased into the shadows by Jurgen Klopp's energetic, dynamic Liverpool. 
The Kop get behind their side in the first half as Loris Karius makes his way to his goal prior to kick off at Anfield
The Kop get behind their side in the first half as Loris Karius makes his way to his goal prior to kick off at Anfield
Rival managers Mourinho and Klopp embrace on the touchline prior to kick off to their sides' big Monday night clash
Rival managers Mourinho and Klopp embrace on the touchline prior to kick off to their sides' big Monday night clash
Ashley Young, making his first Premier League start of the season, tries to close down Liverpool full-back Nathaniel Clyne
Ashley Young, making his first Premier League start of the season, tries to close down Liverpool full-back Nathaniel Clyne
James Milner tangles legs with United starlet Marcus Rashford, getting his second taste of Anfield, early on in the contest
James Milner tangles legs with United starlet Marcus Rashford, getting his second taste of Anfield, early on in the contest
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was deployed on his own up front for United, here the Swede looks up after being dumped on the turf
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was deployed on his own up front for United, here the Swede looks up after being dumped on the turf
Paul Pogba was getting his first taste of the Liverpool-United derby and threw himself into it early against Jordan Henderson
Paul Pogba was getting his first taste of the Liverpool-United derby and threw himself into it early against Jordan Henderson
That it didn't happen should surprise nobody who knows anything about Mourinho. He has achieved too much in his gilded career, poured too much into his work, to submit to popular whim.
As such, he will have emerged from this night the happier man. Maybe the moral victory was his on an evening when Liverpool appeared unrecognisable from their usual selves for the first hour and only slightly better thereafter.
What was beyond dispute, however, was the lamentable quality of this game. Liverpool came to life late on, raising the volume at last. United, for their part, were the better side before the interval.
But there was no cut and thrust. No punch and counter-punch. The edge of the seat remained untouched. This was just a poor game of football.
And so to De Gea. His was, on reflection, the defining contribution, so we may as well start and end there.
Before half-time, the United keeper - not at his imperious best recently - had been reduced to spectator status. His side were reasonably positive and did not retreat or spoil.
Liverpool merely malfunctioned as first touches turned into tackles and passes missed their mark by feet not fractions. It was very strange indeed. 
Marouane Fellaini, restored to the United starting XI for the first time since the defeat at Watford, battles with Sadio Mane
Marouane Fellaini, restored to the United starting XI for the first time since the defeat at Watford, battles with Sadio Mane
With Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum both absent, Coutinho was asked to play up against Antonio Valencia
With Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum both absent, Coutinho was asked to play up against Antonio Valencia
United captain Wayne Rooney was named on the bench by Mourinho and had to watch on from his seat during the first half
United captain Wayne Rooney was named on the bench by Mourinho and had to watch on from his seat during the first half
Ibrahimovic was clearly in the mood early on at Anfield, here the Swede tries his luck from distance with Joel Matip closing in
Ibrahimovic was clearly in the mood early on at Anfield, here the Swede tries his luck from distance with Joel Matip closing in
Roberto Firmino tries to escape the attention of United full back Valencia with a floored Coutinho and Mourinho watching on
Roberto Firmino tries to escape the attention of United full back Valencia with a floored Coutinho and Mourinho watching on
Pogba continued in his advanced role at the tip of the United midfield and had a couple of efforts from range in the first half
Pogba continued in his advanced role at the tip of the United midfield and had a couple of efforts from range in the first half
Liverpool captain Henderson felt the force of Ibrahimovic, with the United forward at one stage brushing him aside
Liverpool captain Henderson felt the force of Ibrahimovic, with the United forward at one stage brushing him aside
Liverpool created arguably the best chance of the first half when Firmino got a run on Valencia but his header was poor
Liverpool created arguably the best chance of the first half when Firmino got a run on Valencia but his header was poor
Firmino cannot hide the look disappointment on his face after planting the header straight at De Gea when well placed
Firmino cannot hide the look disappointment on his face after planting the header straight at De Gea when well placed
Klopp cannot hide frustration as he watches his side in the first half
Mourinho directs his side from the technical area in the opening period
The opposing managers Klopp and Mourinho try to get more of their respective sides during the first half at Anfield
But eventually, after United had failed to translate possession into chances, Liverpool did find a way into the game, and when that happened Mourinho needed his goalkeeper.
De Gea's first piece of excellence came in the 59th minute. Seconds earlier, Liverpool had made such a hash of a free-kick routine that it was tempting to wonder if Klopp had forgotten to reintroduce his players to each other after the international break.
But from nowhere Germany midfielder Emre Can found himself in a yard of space in the penalty area and the door to goal opened a fraction.
The ball was stuck under his feet a little and this prevented the 22-year-old generating the power he would have wished for in his left-foot shot. 
Anthony Taylor was a central figure in the game's build-up and continued to draw Emre Can and Henderson's attention
Anthony Taylor was a central figure in the game's build-up and continued to draw Emre Can and Henderson's attention
Rashford delivered one dangerous cross across the face of the Liverpool goal but no United man could get on the end of it
Rashford delivered one dangerous cross across the face of the Liverpool goal but no United man could get on the end of it
Still, it was struck firmly and accurately enough to put screams in the throats of Liverpool supporters, only for De Gea to drop low to his right and present a hand just strong enough to divert the ball away safely.
It was typical De Gea, in many ways. It spoke of his alertness and his agility and, more importantly, his ability to produce his very best when it matters.
Better was to come. As Liverpool found some impetus following the introduction of Adam Lallana and the promotion of Roberto Firmino to centre forward, United began to feel consistently threatened for the first time. On the fringes of that improvement was Philippe Coutinho and the Brazilian forward must have thought he was about to win the game with less than 20 minutes left. 
There was an early moment of panic for Liverpool early in the second half as Loris Karius was caught out but the flag went up
Ibrahimovic had United's first big chance when he got on the end of Pogba's deep cross but missed with his header
Ibrahimovic had United's first big chance when he got on the end of Pogba's deep cross but missed with his header
Can forced a great save from De Gea from close range when he danced through the United defence in a rampaging fashion
Can forced a great save from De Gea from close range when he danced through the United defence in a rampaging fashion
His shot from 25 yards was perfectly struck, curling back from beyond De Gea's left post towards the corner. But once again De Gea was equal to it, and with that save, plus a superb late tackle from Antonio Valencia on the breaking Firmino, United's point was assured. And given the anxiety felt by so many associated with Old Trafford before this game, a draw was satisfactory.
United had come here with their honour on the line and they went home having suffered no further damage to confidence or reputation. With games against Chelsea and Manchester City ahead, that was important.
But what can we make of a game between these teams that featured so few goal-bound efforts by the home team and not one from the opposition? Funny to think that much of the talk beforehand had been about referee Anthony Taylor. He was exceptional and decisive here on a night when so many around him were drowning in uncertainty.
This was only the second scoreless draw between these clubs since 1991. At least back then not as many people would have been tuning in.
As Liverpool piled on the pressure in the second half Coutinho struck a fierce drive from range but again it was saved
As Liverpool piled on the pressure in the second half Coutinho struck a fierce drive from range but again it was saved
De Gea sticks out a hand at Firmino's effort as he kept a clean sheet to earn United a Premier League point at Anfield
De Gea sticks out a hand at Firmino's effort as he kept a clean sheet to earn United a Premier League point at Anfield
De Gea did not deserve to lose and applauds the away fans after keeping Liverpool at bay for a draw at their big rivals
De Gea did not deserve to lose and applauds the away fans after keeping Liverpool at bay for a draw at their big rivals



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