Manchester United 0-0 Liverpool: Five things we learned from dour draw

Manchester United came back home with one point after a 0-0 draw against Liverpool at Anfield on Monday.

The visitors were efficient in their gameplan and kept the in-form Merseyside team at bay. United were able to break Liverpool’s press and tried to beat them on counterattack.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic had United’s best chance after a brilliant cross from Paul Pogba but the Swedish striker couldn’t hit the target. David De Gea on the other hand made two world class saves to deny Liverpool from breaking the deadlock.

Jose Mourinho was pleased with the performance of his players after the game, but here are the five take-aways from the game.

Shaw will have to work hard to come back in line-up

Luke Shaw was declared fit by Mourinho in the pre match press conference. The English defender has been first choice left-back this term until the game against Leicester as he was out with a groin injury. Daley Blind has been moved back to left-back position to cover Shaw. The Dutchman has hardly put a foot wrong in the position.

It was widely expected that Shaw will start this due to Sadio Mane’s pace on the right flank for Liverpool. Mourinho opted for Blind and the latter didn’t disappoint. He kept Mane quiet throughout the game. His clever positioning helped him to deal with Mane’s pace. He also creates chances with his pinpoint forward passes. Shaw will surely need to prove his worth to get back the left back role again.

Daley Blind fighting for ball against Sadio Mane
Daley Blind fighting for ball against Sadio Mane. (Picture: Getty Images - Clive Brunskill)

Herrera should be first name in starting line-up

Manchester United probably won the midfield battle against Liverpool on Monday. The Old Trafford side were able to break Liverpool’s play and sustain their press. Maraoune Fellaini did his role perfectly after being called up for the game after two games being on the bench. However the main man for Mourinho in the midfield was Ander Herrera.

The Spaniard delivered a brilliant performance in the holding role. He shielded the back four and didn’t allow Liverpool’s attacking players any space. He made 11 interceptions in the game and won the most tackles than any other player on the pitch. He continues to thrive in the holding position and should become a first name in Mourinho’s starting line-up from here on.

Ander Herrera battling for ball against Philippe Coutinho.
Ander Herrera battling for ball against Philippe Coutinho.  (Picture: Getty Images - Andrew Powell) 

Pogba should be used in midfield three

It was a disappointing night for Manchester United’s star man Paul Pogba. The Frenchman was poor while going forward as he was not able to keep the ball well. He was deployed in the number 10 role to link up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the final third but was annonymous for large parts of the game and couldn’t create chances for United.

He was able to deliver one magic moment with a brilliant cross in the second half for Ibrahimovic but was otherwise quiet. Pogba continues to be used in the wrong position. Mourinho surely needs to revert to a midfield three and use Pogba in the left midfield role. The former Juventus midfielder delivered his best performance in that role against Leicester City and would thrive there if played there more regularly.

De Gea back to his best

After a shaky start to the season, De Gea was back to his best on Monday. The Spaniard was criticised for his mistake against Stoke City which cost United two points but has been hardly called to make any save in the game till the hour mark.

He showed immense concentration in his first save tipping of a shot from Emre Can from close range. The Spanish number one showed his class once again with a great save from Philippe Coutinho’s long range effort. De Gea showed that the error against Stoke was just another day.

Young can still contribute for United

The team news included one surprise inclusion. Ashley Young was given his first start of the season in Premier League by Mourinho on Monday. The English winger was deployed on the left flank to help deal Nathaniel Clyne and Sadio Mane. Young didn’t dissappoint and put in a strong performance throughout the 90 minutes.

Ashley Young in action against Liverpool. (Picture: Getty Images - John Powell)

He almost played as a left-back when Blind moved inside to defend. The winger was not up to the mark while going forward as United were set up to soak up Liverpool's pressure. Mourinho can surely trust Young in carrying out his game plans in big games and he still has attributes to offer for United.