The match seemed like ‘De ja vu’ to me. I had almost the same feeling as the reverse fixture at anfield , although in this case I was slightly more optimistic due to united’s current form. We were on a sensational winning run and were unbeaten in 15 games. in all honesty , form guides absolutely do not matter in games against liverpool. They are like our alpha enemies and each game is reviewed transactionally. Regardless of their form ( or ours ) , they will raise their game.

The initial exchanges were a bit clumsy for united. Klopp had evolved a gegenpress style with a scouse flavor which forced us into so many errors. Liverpool players were everywhere , scrambling for every loose ball and going into every tackle. While we took a more cautionary approach , they seemed more up for the game. As a united fan , the early part of the first half worried me and my fears came to a shocking reality with an absolute Pogba howler. Pogba had been atrocious all game. I suspect , too eager to prove his worth after a massive branding campaign the day before. He missed a few guilt edge chances and was generally wasteful in possession culminating in giving away a bizarre penalty. The penalty was laughably horrific . At that point I had a sinking feeling in my stomach because I didn’t feel our rag-tag approach to the game could salvage the match.

After the goal , I felt our overall gameplay improved and we became much tidier in possession and moved the ball a lot quicker. The players seemed to ingest the consequence of losing the game and raised their performance levels. As much as we improved , we were not creating chances and we had very scant opportunities in the final third.

Credit to Jose Mourinho for changes he made in the second half. The introduction of rooney and mata seemed to energize the attack and add a bit more zest to our play. However it was everyone’s favorite scapegoat – Felliani who was to provide a hand in the equalizer. His header which clipped the crossbar was recycled by Valencia and turned in by Ibrahimovic . It was a necessary vindication for Jose , who is always slated each time he puts felliani on. It would seem this tactical gamble paid off , much to the delight of the stretford end. At 1-1 , united pressed forward for the winner with liverpool , ironically , “parking the bus” . Hilarious that Klopp the attacking football purist was forced to defend with 10 men.

Overall , the game lived up to the hype largely due to a rousing second half of football with united chasing the game. I was disappointed we didn’t get all three points , but it could have been a lot worse. I can see the progress Jose is making with the team. The gameplay is more fluid and incisive and the players seem to totally buy into his vision. There were notable performances by Herrera , Valencia and Rojo . However Pogba needs to relax with the expectations, we all know he is a phenomenal player and a proven match winner. I look forward to a winning run given our relatively easier fixtures so we can climb up the table. For now we will just have to endure the infamous “Sixth “ jokes .

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1 Comment

  1. Alozie says

    Excellent review Kenna,
    Liverpool we just out to disrupt our game as we did theirs in the first leg.
    Unlike them, we created chances early on and if not for poor finishing(and the usual opponent Goalkeeper upgrade at OT) we should have scored in the first half and had more control of the game IMO.

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