As I was watching the Liverpool v Manchester United game last night, the first thing I thought of was a tweet I saw earlier in the day yesterday. The tweet explained that a Norwegian TV channel, TV2, were running a continuous 12 hour build up to the game. As the final whistle went, I thought immediately of the people who watched parts, or all of that broadcast, as well as the presenters and what their reaction was.
It was one of the worst games I have seen in a very long time and it will probably be the worst game Sky Sports will show all season. In a game which was built up so much in the media, it was very disappointing. The only real highlight from the game some from Man United’s goalkeeper David de Gea, who somehow managed to get a hand to Coutinho’s 25 yard effort which was bending in to the top corner. How many times have we seen de Gea save Manchester United in the last few seasons? Brilliant goalkeeper, but perhaps a sign of how weak the defence in front of him is.
United started well, pressing from the front and forcing Liverpool’s midfield into making some sloppy mistakes. Emre Can in particular for Liverpool looked well off the pace and needs more match fitness in the next few weeks to get back to the level he was at last year under Klopp, who seems to rate him very highly. For all of United’s dominance in the first 30 minutes or so, they failed to make it count. Liverpool, who had more posession, shots on targetand corners, will perhaps feel they deserved the 3 points. They grew in to this game and created more in the second half. World record signing Paul Pogba, bought to orchestrate games such as this from the midfield, was very disappointing and had a quiet night. In my opinion, there is no doubt that Pogba misses the midfield protection he had at Juventus – players such as Vidal, Marchisio and Khedira allowed him to push forward more, whereas at United he seems to be more disciplined and restricted – as you would expect from a Mourinho midfielder.
With only one shot on target in the whole 90 minutes, fans took to Twitter and various other social media sites to vent their frustration at Jose Mourinho and the Man United team, who seemed to be very pleased with the point they walked away from Anfield with. At some points in the game, it looked as if the visiting side were playing a back 6, with Ibrahimovic cutting a frustrated and lonely figure up front. Jurgen Klopp suggested that United’s style of play last night did frustrate his team, saying “This kind of defence is difficult to play. The man-marking is really difficult, they are stronger than us. We wasted energy in the first half for nothing.”
Mourinho takes his United team to Stamford Bridge next up in the Premier League on Sunday; a place in which he made a fortress in his first spell in Charge of Chelsea a decade ago, in what is sure to be another tactical battle against Italian Antonio Conte. Liverpool host West Brom and will be looking to build on what is a very promising start to the season.
On the basis of last night, neither can truly be classed as title challengers in my opinion, but it was a game where flamboyancy and flicks were replaced by positioning and interceptions for the good of their respective teams. Overall, not the greatest example to show people why the Premier League is still the best around.
Elsewhere in the Premier League
Tottenham maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League season with a 1-1 draw away to West Brom, courtesy of a 89th minute Dele Alli equaliser. Goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg saved 2 penalties as Everton escaped the Etihad stadium with a 1-1 draw, new Swansea manager Bob Bradley saw his team lose 3-2 away to Arsenal, with Theo Walcott bagging a brace. At the bottom, Stoke got their first win of the season with a 2-0 win at home to David Moyes’ Sunderland, who are yet to win this campaign.
Premier League gameweek 8 results
Liverpool 0-0 Man United
Middlesbrough 0-1 Watford
Southampton 3-1 Burnley
Chelsea 3-0 Leicester
Arsenal 3-2 Swansea
Bournemouth 6-1 Hull
Man City 1-1 Everton
Stoke 2-0 Sunderland
West Brom 1-1 Tottenham
Crystal Palace 0-1 West Ham
Roundup of results in Europe
It was goals galore in La Liga this weekend, with a total of 44 goals being scored overall. Atletico Madrid scored 7 of these against an awful Granada side and stay top of the league, albeit level on points with neighbours Real Madrid, who beat Real Betis 6-1 away from home. Barcelona, the other horse in what is sure to be another Three Horse race in Spain this season, brushed Deportivo La Coruna aside 4-0 at the Nou Camp, with Lionel Messi scoring on his return from injury. Barcelona sit 4th in the table, with Sevilla, who won 3-2 away at Leganes, sitting Third.
There was plenty of drama at the Signal Iduna Park in Dortmund on Friday night, who struggled to a 1-1 draw with Hertha Berlin, who sit Fourth, a point above Dortmund. Aubameyang missed a penalty (1 of 6 penalties missed in the Bundesliga this weekend), in this game, which also saw a red card for both teams. Bayern Munich failed to capitalise on Dortmund’s home draw with a draw of their own, 2-2 away at Eintracht Frankfurt. Surprise package Koln maintain their impressive start to the season with a 2-1 home win against Ingolstadt and go second, 2 points behind Bayern. Could they do a Leicester?!
Juventus go 5 points clear at the top of the table with a 2-1 home win over Udinese, with Paulo Dybala scoring a superb 25 yard free kick. In the stand out fixture of the weekend in Italy, Roma beat Napoli 3-1 in Naples to go Second and AC Milan go Third with a 3-1 win away in Chievo. Joe Hart’s Torino win 4-1 away in Palermo.
Surprise leaders Nice continue their surprise start to the season with a 2-0 win at home to Lyon; Mario Balotelli missed a penalty in this one (why always him? etc etc) They remain 4 points clear of PSG, who won 2-1 away in Nancy – Edinson Cavani scoring again to take his tally to 9 already this season. Zlatan who?
Thanks for reading, as always.