Man of Match Van Dijk Shines in Liverpool vs Man Utd Stalemate

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Liverpool 0 – 0 Manchester United – PL Man of the Match: Virgil van Dijk

Despite the supporters’ pre-match desire to see Liverpool dismantle Manchester United, an inevitably painful result was finally delivered, one which left the Reds languishing in second place in the Premier League. Both Arsenal and Aston Villa won their Sunday encounters, condensing the top of the table, where a lead should have been preserved by Jürgen Klopp’s men. Without rhythm, a ruthless nature, or the on-pitch combinations required to secure all three points, the home side dominated possession and chances created, yet fell short in their attempts to win the occasion. When an adversary arrives with a blueprint to frustrate and counter-attack, it creates a situation where the aggressor (LFC) must contain those rare and fleet-footed attacks. Today, Liverpool fans witnessed a home side shy on aggression, yet still capable of containing and controlling almost the entire game. Facilitating such dominance and allowing so much of the game to be played in one half requires brilliance in decision-making and command of a defensive line that sits as high as humanly possible.

A first-half header by the towering Dutchman nearly found its way into the visitors’ net, before André Onana tipped his header (from a corner) over the bar. That was just about it for the first-half attacking endeavours, as anything else amounted to little more than a scramble or a whimper. The underperforming at the top of the field was permitted by Virgil and Ibrahima Konaté, who stood inside the visiting half, batting away anything and anybody that came their way. There was very little fight from the Red Devils’ front men, who, like so many others that have faced the world-class Anfield skipper, simply accepted they would lose duels and any form of contest. This level of superiority allows a faltering Liverpool system to still be in contention for the top spot, which is an indictment of the all-time greatness surrounding the man.

Though no player had a great game, it is often the commanding presence and leadership that draws me to award the man of the match. Only Virgil, Ibrahima Konaté, and Alisson Becker performed to a good level today. However, it still required strong organization by the team’s on-pitch leader to ensure a disappointing 0-0 result did not devolve into a horrid home loss.

West Ham is up next, a game that will need much more fight.

After that comes Arsenal, a match demanding more of everything, or the Gunners will extend their lead at the top of the Premier League.

Pre-match Prediction:

Liverpool 2 – 1 Manchester United

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