Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: A stalemate which leaves both sides wondering
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 17: Anthony Martial of Manchester United looks to break past Thiago of Liverpool during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield on January 17, 2021 in Liverpool, England. Sporting stadiums around England remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Paul Ellis - Pool/Getty Images)

Liverpool and Manchester United played out a tense, technical 0-0 draw in a top of the table clash at Anfield

Allison arguably stole the headlines with two gargantuan saves to keep the game goalless, however both managers will be content to have picked up a point. 

Story of the Match 

The first half-chance of the game came from Liverpool’s left-hand side as Xherdan Shaqiri worked the ball nicely to Georginio Wijnaldum inside the box. He then found Andrew Robertson with a traditional overlapping run. However, his cross was scuffed and trickled narrowly wide of the post. 

The different intentions of the two teams became apparent early on, with Liverpool happy to keep the ball on the halfway line, poking and probing. While United looked a threat on the counter as they have so often before in the past year or so. 

A tense opening began to open up as Thiago began to influence the game with his immense technical ability, shifting the ball and creating space for his teammates and himself. 

17 minutes in, Liverpool opened United up for the first time through a perfectly waited ball from Shaqiri to Sadio Mane. He then checked back inside before laying it off to Roberto Firmino whose effort was wayward, much to the dismay of the onrushing Robertson to his left. 

Liverpool continued their relentless pressure as Alexander-Arnold picked out Firmino with a stunning cross-field ball into the box. He then chopped one way then the other before releasing an effort which was blocked well by Victor Lindelof

United had their first opportunity of the game on the half hour mark through a free kick from striking range. Bruno Fernandes stood over it and curled one towards the top corner, however his effort was just inches wide. 

United grew into the game from that point with the occasional threat of Marcus Rashford through the middle becoming more prevalent as an option for Paul Pogba and Fernandes

The half petered out after that point, with United having more of a say in the way the game was played, offering more of a threat and restricting Liverpool to little-to-no chances. 

Liverpool began the second half as they did the first, patiently camped inside United’s half. Their first opening came five minutes in when Mane burst past Aaron Wan-Bissaka to the byline, but he could only pick out Scott McTominay with his ball into the box. 

United had their first opening of the half just minutes later as a sublime switch of play from Pogba found Anthony Martial who then slid in Fernandes. However, the angle was against him and Fabinho blocked his effort well. 

The game was almost carved open on the hour mark as Robertson swung in a dangerous ball right across the face of goal which found Firmino at the back post just a few yards out. With the goal at his mercy, Firmino tapped the ball goalward but was met by a crucial block by Harry Maguire out of nowhere. 

Liverpool came close again just minutes later as Luke Shaw gave the ball away to Firmino who in turn picked out Mohammed Salah on the penalty spot. He shifted the ball onto his left before striking it against the leg of Maguire and out for a corner. 

15 minutes from time, United created their best chance of the game. Shaw collected the ball from his overlapping run before getting to the touch line and finding Fernandes on the six-yard line. Fernandes let off a first-time effort through a sea of bodies and forces a brilliant reflex save from the feet of Allison. 

A few moments later, Liverpool created their own opportunity as Thiago feinted his way past Fred before striking one from 30-yards out. His effort looked destined for the corner, where it not for a diving save by David De Gea

United rallied with eight minutes to go and followed up on a dangerous looking counterattack as Wan-Bissaka sustained the attack, flying down the right before finding Pogba in the area with time to turn. He then unleased a fierce effort which Allison expertly saved. 

The game came to a close in quiet fashion as both teams looked to stay solid and prevent what would have been a heartbreaking winner for either side.  

The result means United maintain their position at the top of the league with a two point gap on second placed Leicester City, while Liverpool sit third, three points off United. 

Man of the match - Allison

In a dogged affair with big chances few and far between, it was Allison who shone brightest. The Brazilian made two world class saves from point blank range, from Fernandes and Pogba respectively, to keep the visitors at bay. 

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