One of football’s biggest rivalries was back last night when for the first ever time in a European competition Liverpool took on Manchester United. I am sure by now anyone who is a fan of football will know the outcome with Liverpool winning 2-0 at Anfield. On current form you could say that the result was expected, but having watched these two great clubs lock horns in the league year after year I tell you anything can happen. The dreams of European glory for both of these 2 giants of the game could be crushed by their rival’s no one wants to give the other an advantage going into the 2nd leg but someone had to win in this game as Liverpool showed us all.
The home team started with Mignolet in net, Clyne, Lovren, Sakho and Mereno made up the back line. Lallana, Henderson (Captain), Can and Coutinho started in midfield with Firmino playing just off Daniel Sturridge. Prior to the game people expected an attack force of Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino and Sturridge up top to tear apart any United defence and with the inspirational Emre Can starting again, continuing his good form no matter who United started it would be a tough test.
United started their trip to Anfield with a De Gea in goal, Varela, Smalling, Blind and Rojo at the back, Varela with his first start against Liverpool. United’s midfield saw Fellaini start in a holding role alongside Schneiderlin in front of them was Memphis, Mata (Captain) and Rashford who was also experiencing his first start in this huge derby and they sat behind Anthony Martial. United fans looking for Memphis and Martial to give LFC’s back 4 a hard time and praying for another performance from Rashford that he gave against Arsenal. Safe to say I think United set up for a chance to get an away goal and take Liverpool back to Manchester and try and win the tie at home.
United where almost in dream land when a ball went over the head of Moreno into the box to Rashford who misjudged the ball and the ball rolls out of play. United seemed to be pretty confident in the opening 13 minutes where they were enjoying some time on the ball. Liverpool started to play a little better and looked to be getting a grip on the game. United seemed pretty confident Until LFC went on the counter, Penalty! In the 19th minute Memphis Depay clipped Clyne in the box, Liverpool deserved something as they have been all other United in the last couple of minutes. Daniel Sturridge put the ball past De Gea to give Liverpool the lead. Liverpool dominating again after getting their goal with United going on an attack very, very rarely. A few Liverpool attacks followed by saves from David De Gea saw the hosts go in with a 1-0 lead debatably should have been more if it was not for MUFC’s number 1.
As the 2nd half kicked off United had switched into a back 3 with Carrick, Rojo and Smalling the 3 centre backs. United getting their foot on the ball but not doing too much with it. De Gea saving United time after time in the game with his opposite number having a few crosses to deal with but defiantly having an easier night than De Gea. Liverpool still dominated even though the goal scorer had gone off for the man they call the Welsh Xavi. Attack after attack came through Clyne and Henderson forcing saves from the De Gea. Liverpool’s domination continued with the Brazilian duo causing major problems for United’s back 3, the pressure finally got too United as a poor clearance from Carrick that gets picked up from Lallana who’s form of late has been very impressive slides the ball into the path of Roberto Firmino who bagged his 9th goal in his last 14 matches an impressive stat for a player that is clearly a fan favourite for the Anfield faithful. As a United fan an away goal at this point was a must we needed it more than anything just something to take back to Old Trafford with us. However, from a LFC point of view it was dream lad as long as they could hold United out. United get a chance as they play a long ball which seems to be a go to tactic from us when we are losing, the ball finds its way to Fellaini who heads wide from inside the box. Safe to say if United didn’t have De Gea the result could have been far worse as the final whistle blows Merseyside have the bragging rights over Manchester for now.
No one can argue with the result as the stats from www.Spawka.com will tell you Liverpool finished with 56% possession in the game, 10 chances created to Man U’s 4, a shot accuracy of over 70% whereas United could get it over 20%. In fact, I think the only stat I can see in which United Dominated was the average amount of times their defence was called upon to deal with Liverpool’s attack. Round 1 Liverpool!
— ? (@JmasLFC) March 10, 2016
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) March 10, 2016
All in all, I look back at this game and I am not too worried as a United fan I know anything can happen when we play they enemy 3 goals is achievable against this team even though Klopp seems to have found a winning formula. I bet Liverpool fans will be very happy with the result especially with the likes of Firmino and Sturridge getting on the score sheet it’s not yet over in the tie but Liverpool certainly have made it difficult for United. Can United stop LFC’s attack force in the next match? Has LVG got it in his locker to beat Klopp in Manchester we shall see.
For more articles and opinions follow @NathanHodge6 and @OfficialTFF on Twitter.