Manchester United’s determination and perfect defensive play earned them a goalless draw against Liverpool at Anfield, and the nervy encounter was worth a fair point for each side.
As expected, Jose Mourinho’s side grabbed a 38% possession, just three percent less of their last season’s stalemate against Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Possession: Liverpool 62% United 38%
Shots: Liverpool 19 United 6
Shots on Target: Liverpool 5 United 1
Corners: Liverpool 7 United 3
David De Gea recorded a wonder save against Georginio Wijnaldum from 25 yards in the first half, and United deserved an applause for their professional defensive performance.
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, who was played as a lone striker, could have grabbed a three-pointer for the Red Devils but his first half attempt was denied by an eagle-eyed Simon Mignolet.
“I think we defended really well today, the same as the last games, and we needed to be at that level in the defensive part,” said David De Gea.
“Romelu Lukaku had a good opportunity to score but he missed the chance. We need to keep doing well. It’s away from home at Anfield – a difficult stadium and a difficult team, so we’re happy with the point.”
Prior to the tensed encounter, Mourinho downplayed his nervousness, calling the derby ‘a match just like any other.’
Nemanja Matic and Roberto Firmino also missed their chances for United and Liverpool respectively. There were few chances and more misses to anger the agitated crowd at Anfield.
Speaking at a post-match conference, the Portuguese coach said: “In the first half, we had the ball and were always compact. We had a few shots in the second half. They played with a very strong midfield of [Emre] Can, [Georginio] Wijnaldum and [Jordan] Henderson for 90 minutes but, in the second half, I had no-one on the bench to change the direction of the game.
“I thought they were afraid of our counter attack. I just tried to improve in attacking areas where I could surprise them, but they kept a strong organisation in midfield. I was waiting for him [Jurgen Klopp] to break it [the play] a bit more. But he didn’t let it break.
“A point, in this long marathon? A point at Anfield is OK.”
The 54-year-old continued, “The opposition was good today, but we played our game…The second half was like a game of chess but my opponent didn’t open the door for me to win the game.”
Nemanja Matic said it’s always hard, especially when Liverpool are at home and they know they have to win in front of these supporters.
“It’s hard, the motivation was at a high level for them and for us,” the Serbia international footballer said. “We didn’t have many chances but we had two good chances that we didn’t take. But this is football and the most important thing was we didn’t lose the game.”
Manchester United are #2 on the English Premier League table with 22 points after 8 games, two points behind leaders Manchester City, while Liverpool are #8.
Pep Guardiola’s men won 7-2 against Stoke City to retain their first spot.