Liverpool and Man United played out an entertaining 1-1 at Old Trafford on Sunday, with some imposing performances from the Reds.
Man United 1-1 Liverpool
Premier League, Old Trafford
January 15, 2017
Goals: Milner (pen) 27′; Ibrahimovic 84′
Simon Mignolet (out of 10) – 8 (Man of the Match)
The Belgian has been impressive since returning to the side, and he produced arguably his display of the season at Old Trafford.
He made important saves from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the first half, denying the latter after the break as well, and he could do nothing about Ibrahimovic’s equaliser.
The teenager made his first ever Premier League start, coming in for the injured Nathaniel Clyne.
It was a tough afternoon for him at times, up against the quick feet of Anthony Martial, but he grew into the game enormously as it went on.
Alexander-Arnold will never forget this day—there will be plenty more to come in a Liverpool shirt.
Dejan Lovren – 7.5
Lovren gets plenty of flack, but he was very good up against the towering Ibrahimovic.
At times, his aerial presence was formidable at both ends of the pitch, and as United pressed for a winner late on, he stood tall and marshalled the troops.
That said, his passing was poor in the first half, and he sold Mignolet horribly short with a backpass.
Ragnar Klavan – 6
With Joel Matip still missing, Klavan again partnered Lovren at the back, but he never truly convinced as much as the Croatian.
There was plenty of good thrown in there, without question, but his lack of pace was an issue at times, and he looked a little nervy.
Still very much a squad player when everyone is fit.
James Milner – 7
Liverpool’s Mr. Dependable was once again his solid self, as his superb conversion into a left-back continues.
The 31-year-old nervelessly scored his sixth penalty of the season—he is yet to miss from the spot for Liverpool—and barring one poor piece of marking to allow Mkhitaryan through on goal, he was faultless.
These are the games when Milner’s worth truly comes to the fore—when you really have to dig deep at the home of a rival.
Jordan Henderson – 7
The captain returned to the team, and his presence in the middle of the park was very noticeable.
Possessing dynamism in the middle of the park, Henderson covered endless ground, kept things simple but quicker on the ball and brought some much-needed leadership.
One lung-busting run and tackle in the dying seconds epitomised Henderson’s performance.
Emre Can – 7
Deployed to the right of a midfield diamond, this was a typical Can performance: blood-and-guts style football.
His physical presence was important against a similarly powerful United midfield, and he looked a threat when he got the chance to attack.
The German’s decision-making remains slightly infuriating, but this was a good day at the office for him.
Wijnaldum has certainly delivered more noticeable, influential performances for the Reds, but he was an important cog in the wheel, as always.
He kept things ticking over nicely in midfield, worked his socks off and provided a nice balance.
The 26-year-old had a great chance to win it in the dying embers, but his finish was tame. He needs to start finding the net more regularly.
Adam Lallana – 7
By his incredibly high standards this season, it was a quiet afternoon for Lallana, but his work for the team was outstanding throughout.
There was an intelligence and calm to his play that is always required at Old Trafford, and when he did have the ball, he looked dangerous.
Lallana’s transformation has been remarkable, and his performance on Sunday displayed a grittier side to his game.
Roberto Firmino – 7
Firmino has been quiet of late, but he was far more lively and involved against Jose Mourinho’s side.
Liverpool’s most effective defensive-minded attacker was brilliant in his off-ball work, and some of his subtle use of the ball was eye-catching.
The Brazilian is still not the player he was nearer the start of the season, but this was an encouraging 90 minutes from him.
Divock Origi – 6
Many will give him plaudits for some of the selfless work he does for the team, but Sunday’s display was not good enough by the young striker.
Granted, his pace and power caused Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo trouble in the opening 45 minutes, but time and time again, he lost the ball or made the wrong decision.
Age is very much on Origi’s side, but he must start playing with more intelligence and consistency.
Philippe Coutinho (on for Origi ’60) – 7
Within seconds of replacing Origi, Coutinho had produced a delightful reverse pass to set up Firmino, and he sparkled during his 30-minute cameo.
Liverpool just look such a better team when he is on the field, with their fluency going up a serious notch when he was introduced.
Jurgen Klopp – 7
Klopp decided to go with a 4-4-2 diamond, and it paid off, as his side got what could prove to be an important point at Old Trafford.
The German was also vindicated in playing Alexander-Arnold, which was a brave move, and he got a very spirited performance from his players.
Under previous managers, the Reds would have left Manchester with nothing, but Klopp has ensured this team now have a tough mental edge.