Bold title, right? I'll tell you why we won the battle. Liverpool have held posession in midfield and forward lines all season. All their possession has been in opposition territory and very, very little has come along the back line, in contrast, to say, City who like to involve the keeper and the strongest possession lines have been in that triangle of centre backs and goalkeeper.
Liverpool have been so good, apparently so good, under Klopp because of their high press and the fact they hold possession high. This leads to a high number of chances created and often leads to high scoring games. Liverpool have had no clean sheets in the League prior to United's visit. It's an oppressive, suffocating system that doesn't allow a team to comfortably play out from the back.
United tonight completely stiffled it. But you won't see anyone giving credit for that. See the pass map, below. We totally shut off supply to the forward line and forced Liverpool to do what they've not done against ANYONE, all season, and hold possession along their back line, Lovren, Matip and Karius.
But there's two sides to every story. A consequence of forcing Liverpool back, for United, particularly in the first 45, was that we lacked any depth to our play. We were compact. The wingers did not manage to stretch their opposite number and there was a lack of leading the line effectively from Zlatan. What is interesting, though, is United usually do hold possession along our back line. But in this map, we see Bailly and Smalling had very little of the ball. I think the lines of distribution coming from Blind also tell a story. Usually Blind is a player that is able to pick a pass. To turn a side around and that was something lacking from his game today. His inability to deliver good balls inside to Pogba and Zlatan I think nullified our own attack, somewhat.
No one is celebrating a 0-0. But a sensible evaluation shows that United have come up against a side much fancied, I mean, we were huge underdogs here tonight, and we've come away with a very valuable point. I'd have love to taken all three points. But it was not to be. If we take 4 points in total after we've been to Stamford Bridge, I'd consider that a massive success.
Here's Andy Tate and Jay's review following the game: