Manchester United produced a performance to be proud off yesterday which resulted in them getting a point against Liverpool. Even though there were challenges far beyond anyone’s control, Solskjaer somehow managed to get the best out of what he had and indicated that he belongs and deserves the job full time.
Matic’s injury just a day before the game meant United had to dismantle the settled midfield they have been using under Solskjaer. Scott was called in to replace the Serbian while Martial was still not ready hence Mata started as well. Ole opted for the 4-4-2 with Rashford and Lukaku up top with more protection in the mid due to the absence of experienced Matic.
The game started in a buzzing atmosphere at the Old Trafford but it did not take time for something unusual to happen. Initially, after a challenge from Henderson, Rashford felt some discomfort on his ankle.
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It seemed he was about to be replaced when Herrera pulled off his hamstring and was no position to continue. Andreas Pereira came on for him and it was not even 5 minutes when Mata indicated that he had some trouble of his own.
Mata pushed on but in attempt to stop a counter-attack from Liverpool, he gave his everything and that was it for him. Lingard who was not fit enough for 90 minutes as indicated by the manager had to be called on for 74 minutes.
With a completely new and inexperienced mid-field, United changed their tactics a bit adopting the 4-3-3. To add on the misery of Solskjaer and United Lingard got down as well, following a brilliant linkup and play between Pogba and Lukaku.
Alexis was then subbed in, meaning United had used all of their subs inside the 45 minutes and with no probable game-changer left on the bench.
Meanwhile Liverpool had an injury on their side as well with Firmino getting replaced by Sturridge
Liverpool had a great opportunity to capatelize on the crisis at United and everyone feared that a dominating performance was on the cards. However things looked totally different as imagined. Manchester United came out with the will and determination to hang on and not to go down easily.
Although Liverpool enjoyed the possession they were never able to create any decisive chance. Rashford was not comfortable but stayed on as the hosts did not have any substitutions left. The situation was such that Salah was removed in order to change the system as Liverpool were literally not able to break anything.
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United again had the best opportunity of the half when a perfectly time cross from Lukaku just missed Smalling. Earlier an own goal from Matip was also ruled out as off-side on him, who probably enjoyed one of his best days as a Manchester United player.
David DeGea: Not had much to do except in the first few minutes when Liverpool got a free kick inside the box. =>6
Ashley Young: Nearly messed up in the first minute of the game with his back pass. Need to be better defensively. =>5
Smalling: One of the best player on the pitch. Looked comfortable and assured in his position against the best top three in the league. Could have score as well. =>8
Lindelof: Solid again. Improving with every game. =>7
Luke Shaw: Brilliant today. Had Salah in control throughout the game and never looked out of his position. =>8
Pogba: Looked a bit doubtfull going forward due to the absence of Matic. Improved as the game went on. =>6
Andreas Periera: Came on for Herrera. Impactful performance, got the crowd going and really looked ready for the game. =>7
McTominay: Had difficult boots to fill but looked promising and composed. => 6
Lukaku: Still struggles to keep the ball. Produced two threating crosses from the right but offered nothing else. =>5
Rashford: Shout out to his will to continue even though he was clearly not comfortable. =>5
Alexis: Had the opportunity to prove himself in the big game but again came out short. Produced nothing. =>4
Mata, Herrera and Lingard all looked good in the few minutes they had on the pitch. The end result could have been different if they would have stayed on for sure.
Even though it was a draw but this game can seriously cement Solskjaer opportunity to become the full-time manager of United. He remained true to his instincts and footballing style with a possible B team.
United came out on top against a side that has only been on the losing end once this season. If not for that missed opportunity, they could have grabbed all the three points. Liverpool on the other hand dis not even had a shot on target in the game.
But more or less this performance should boost the entire squad and fanbase that the team can perform in an adverse situation as well. Also, with the next game just two days away it would be really exciting to see the team United go with considering the injuries they have.
And yes serious concerns for the medical staff at United who should have never given the thumbs up for Lingard.