Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s late equalizer helped United earn a well deserved point after James Milner’s first half penalty , in what proved to be an enthralling fixture between two of English football’s biggest powerhouses. Let’s take a look at some of the key talking points of the big clash between Manchester United and Liverpool.
1. A night to forget for Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba had arguably the worst game of his Manchester united career so far. The Frenchman looked out of sorts and unsure of himself. He should have put United in the lead early in the first half after Henrikh Mkhitaryan had put him through on goal, but the midfielder dragged his shot wide. Moments later, Pogba conceded a needless penalty after clumsily handling the ball inside the box from a corner kick. James Milner fired Liverpool in front from the subsequent penalty. To make matters worse, Pogba brought down Jordan Henderson in a violent act of frustration during a set piece play. Luckily for the midfielder, it went unnoticed by referee Micheal Oliver. Jose Mourinho will be hoping that this is just a blip, and that his star midfielder quickly regains his form.
2. Klopp vs Mourinho:
This was the seventh meeting between Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho, two of football’s finest managers at the moment. Klopp has a better head-to-head record, winning thrice and losing only once. Mourinho would have been hoping to get one over his rival, but it was not be as United had to settle for a draw after pressing for the majority of the game. The two managers had warm words of praise for each other during the pre-match briefing, but relationships turned sour during the game. The German and the Portuguese were involved in a heated exchange of words after Roberto Firmino barged into Ander Herrera during the second half. Tensions cooled down after the final whistle, as the two managers shook hands.One can only hope that this fierce rivalry continues between the two coaches for many more seasons to come, as they battle for English football’s top prize.
3.Bright Start for Trent Alexander Arnold:
After Nathaniel Clyne’s omission from the squad due to a rib injury, Klopp decided to offer a league debut to youngster Trent Alexander Arnold.It was a big task for the Englishman ,especially given the magnitude of such a huge fixture. However, the young defender came through with flying colors, displaying nerves of steel as he put up a hugely impressive performance for the reds.He did face a few problems in the opening twenty minutes, up against the quick feet of Anthony Martial. But Alexander Arnold improved significantly, displaying an assured performance at the back.
4. The Absence of Sadio Mane:
Liverpool will be desperate for Sadio Mane to return back from The African Cup of Nations as soon as possible. The forward’s absence was quite evident due to the lack of pace upfront for the reds especially on the counter attack. Divock Origi failed to make much of an impact on the game.However, Liverpool were given a morale boost by the return of star midfielder Phillipe Coutinho. The Brazilian has been out of action for almost two months now and his return will be dearly welcomed by the Liverpool faithful.