Liverpool were held to a goalless draw during their away clash with an injury-hit Manchester United side on Sunday afternoon. Spanish midfield duo Ander Herrera and Juan Mata were both replaced before the half-hour mark with hamstring injuries, while Jesse Lingard – passed fit to play – was also a first-half casualty after replacing Mata himself.
Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino (ankle) also hobbled off, in a remarkable string of injuries which ultimately hurt the game’s flow. Joel Matip’s blushes were saved after conceding an own goal in the second-half – only for it to be ruled out for offside, as Chris Smalling had prematurely ventured beyond the Reds’ backline.
Despite infrequent flashes from both sides though, the Reds failed to take advantage of United’s drastic change in personnel. The result means Jurgen Klopp’s men have now drawn four of their last five matches across all competitions, with three of those coming in England’s top-flight.
Their lead atop the Premier League table now stands at just one point above defending champions Manchester City – who later on beat United’s top-four rivals Chelsea to claim the season’s first piece of silverware. With all of that in mind, here’s a look at five hits and flops from an entertaining 0-0 draw at Old Trafford:
#5 Flop: Romelu Lukaku
If ever there was a time for Lukaku to step up, show Solskjaer why he should be a guaranteed starter under the Norwegian, this was the game.
Rashford, who sustained an ankle injury early in the contest, did his utmost but was clearly suffering and couldn’t be replaced. With Paul Pogba, Andreas Pereira and Alexis Sanchez all looking to provide service in the final third, the Belgian again flattered to deceive during a match with limited opportunities.
Dispossessed four times, his 52.6% pass accuracy was unsurprisingly a game-worst statistic and despite winning five aerial duels, found himself frustrated with the imposing figure of Virgil van Dijk breathing down his neck whenever a promising chance was on the cards.
Perhaps harsh for him to feature here, it needs to be put into context. We’ve seen just how good he can be and flashes of his individual quality were too infrequent to prove matchwinner for United when they needed him most.
His deft pass into Lingard was one that Alisson did well to thwart, while he outmuscled Andrew Robertson before heading straight at the Brazilian in the first half. An inswinging speculative cross, which evaded everyone, could’ve proven decisive had Chris Smalling latched onto Lukaku’s pass at the back post – in the 90th minute. On another day, I’d be heralding the Belgian’s display as United’s matchwinner with two assists and potentially a goal for himself too.