Observations as Liverpool stumble to stalemate against Red Devils

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Liverpool failed to score for a third successive Premier League game, leaving Anfield visitors Manchester United clear of the Reds at the top of the league following a 0-0 draw.

Despite a bright start, Jurgen Klopp’s side toiled a little as the game went on and it was United who had the better chances in the closing stages, Alisson Becker on top form to deny both Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

Here’s a closer a look at a few topics surrounding the game.

Fabinho once again proves his worth, but how about Henderson?

When the prizes and medals are handed out at the end of the season, Fabinho might consider himself deserving of Liverpool’s Player of the Year award if he can keep this form up. Again trusted to lead the defence in an un-natural centre-back position, the Brazilian coached his fellow midfielder Jordan Henderson through the game expertly, with notable moments such as a block from Fernandes’ shot and running down Marcus Rashford as the striker looked to get away on the break.

Fabinho’s performance didn’t go unnoticed by fans and pundits alike, and Henderson wasn’t too bad alongside him either. The captain has had far less playing time in the role but more than held his own, whilst it was inarguable that Liverpool missed the physicality of the pair in midfield at times.

Using Fab and Hendo at the back means the team drop a little deeper due to them being slower than Joe Gomez and Virgil Van Dijk, stretching Liverpool more and weakening the Reds’ ability to press efficiently in groups high up the pitch. This game was another example of why those defensive injuries don’t just impact Liverpool’s conceded column.

Manchester United will have to ride their luck to win the league

If Manchester United do perform the unlikely, if not impossible, and claim the Premier League title, you get the feeling they’ll have to ride their luck somewhat.

Whilst they hung in following a tough first half and eventually got chances to hurt Liverpool on the break, there’s only so much counter attacking football you can play before teams start to figure you out and plan accordingly. United will be pleased with the result today but they can’t play that way every week, something that could expose them as the season takes its toll.

With Manchester City beating Crystal Palace at the time of writing, finding form at the right time, I’d still make them considerable favourites for the title as Liverpool struggle to overcome these hurdles. Tottenham too, may still have a role to play in the title race.

What’s going on up front?

A third straight goalless game in the league, Liverpool have looked fairly barren in the final third since Sadio Mane made it 1-0 against West Bromwich Albion over three weeks ago.

All of the half chances falling to Roberto Firmino isn’t ideal, especially with some poor decision making from the Brazilian coming at exactly the wrong time against United. Chances to square the ball for the likes of Thiago and Robertson in better positions were spurned, whilst Sadio Mane and especially Mo Salah struggled for joy up against the impressive Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw.

Diogo Jota’s return will be welcomed in the next few weeks, but Liverpool can’t bank on him to solve all their problems. With Mourinho, Dyche and Moyes amongst the managers that Klopp will face in the coming matches, the attacking issues aren’t going to be given an easy fix. It’s up to Liverpool to sort it.

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