This was an occasion for Liverpool to banish their rut. Instead, they’ve sunk further into it.
The draw with arch-rivals United keeps the Reds three points off the pace, but above all it cements Manchester City’s newly-established status as title favourites.
Belief among supporters and among the players is clearly low. Liverpool aren’t functioning as a unit given their makeshift defence and with every match the task of retaining their title is growing more difficult.
Joel Matip’s imminent return will restore a semblance of normality by allowing Jordan Henderson to return to midfield. But the absence of Diogo Jota, a forward well on course for 20-25 goals prior to injury, is most keenly felt.
Here is how the Reds rated at Anfield.
Alisson Becker – 8/10
Two close-range saves prevented an unthinkable outcome. Both were stops you would expect him to make, but they were still testament to his reflexes. A virtually faultless performance from the Liverpool no. 1.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 6/10
Trent’s best passing came from the middle of the park, whether he was trying to unleash the front three when United weren’t set or whether he was switching play. In the final third, it was mostly more of the same. A number of deliveries were charged down by the first man, and Trent looked reluctant to tease a ball in first time.
The visitors weren’t able to exploit him defensively as they may have expected.
Fabinho – 8/10
One of the best centre-halves in the league this season, even though he’s an emergency option. Thwarted United time and again, most importantly when Marcus Rashford looked to race through late on and he combined with Henderson to usher him away from danger.
Booked for a trip on Cavani, but it was a foul he had to make.
Jordan Henderson – 8/10
A commendable effort from the skipper, who rose to the occasion. Liverpool’s defence didn’t look especially vulnerable against one of the league’s most fearsome attacks, which reflects very positively on Henderson.
Andrew Robertson – 6/10
Not at his best, but he did very nearly fashion a match-winning opportunity for Roberto Firmino, lurking on the shoulder of Harry Maguire.
No complaints defensively.
Thiago Alcantara – 7/10
Excelled in the first 30 minutes or so but might have been better utilised further up the pitch. Showed off his dribbling abilities and tested De Gea from range with 15 to go. A decent home debut.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 5/10
I wasn’t a big fan of this Wijnaldum performance. Liverpool needed to play with more purpose but he repeatedly hesitated in possession.
Xherdan Shaqiri – 6/10
Was pleasing to see him in the starting line-up but after a positive start, his influence waned as the match progressed, leading to his withdrawal 15 minutes from time.
Mohamed Salah – 5/10
As low on confidence as I’ve seen him. He’s trying to fashion the perfect angle for every shot, and he’s electing to shoot less often.
Luke Shaw, the best player on the pitch for United, comfortably won their battle.
Roberto Firmino – 5/10
It fell to him to make Liverpool’s best spell count and he couldn’t. When he receives the ball in a dangerous area, you have very little faith that he’ll put it away. His finishing is charitable.
His double at Crystal Palace was supposed to be a marker of the Firmino renaissance.
Sadio Mane – 6/10
Probably the best of the attackers, but that regrettably doesn’t say much. Played well with his back to goal.
Curtis Jones – N/A
‘Played a nice switch to Trent’ out of 10.
Divock Origi – N/A
I’m convinced these substitutions are superstitious.