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Atmosphere, Anfield Road & a solid defence – Last word on Liverpool 0-0 Man United

Liverpool’s goalless draw against Man United threw up more questions than it answered, as the Reds failed to capitalise on the visitors’ lack of quality.

It has been strange watching Liverpool this season, in the sense that it is hard to work out whether they are actually good or not.

Results would suggest the Reds are in a great place, but performances wouldn’t. The players will know themselves they need to improve and kick on to challenge for the Premier League title.

Here, Sam Millne (@sam_millne) and Patrick Allen (@P_Allen21) discuss the good, the bad and the week ahead after Liverpool’s game against Man United.

 

Still optimistic for the week ahead?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Paddy: Vaguely. It was another worrying night in terms of the performance and there’s a large part of me thinking we won’t get results in the upcoming two games, should we play at the same level.

Sam: Yes, as I think the players will know they need to improve on Sunday’s performance.

I think with the backing of the crowd and a strong side, we can get back on track against West Ham and regain some momentum ahead of the Arsenal match.

 

How was the atmosphere in the upper Anfield Road End?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: A general view of Anfield and the newly opened upper tier of the Anfield Road stand seen during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda) This image is a composite of multiple images.

Paddy: It was OK, which means it was poor considering the fixture. In fairness, I think the opening 15 or 20 minutes was good atmosphere-wise, in the upper Annie Road anyway, but the performance on the field sucked the life out of it.

On the new stand, I did notice it was particularly windy up there and those speakers hanging down from the ceiling are going to cause problems for some people at the back.

 

Klopp praised the counter pressing, did you share the same view?

Paddy: I think that was one part of our performance that was above par.

There were only a select few occasions when United got out, and that was when we were pressing with numbers or when Michael Oliver bought Antony falling over for the umpteenth time.

Sam: Now we know what happened during the rest of the match, it is easy to forget the Reds came out of the blocks very quickly, something that has been rare this season.

Man United played like arguably the worst domestic team to visit Anfield so far this campaign, but Liverpool made sure they looked so poor.

They only really created a couple of chances, though should have probably scored one of them (Rasmus Hojlund’s opportunity), and that was thanks to Liverpool’s ability to prevent counter-attacks at source.

 

At least taking solace in a clean sheet?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk applauds the supporters after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Paddy: Not really. Unless the club is going to pay me Alisson’s clean sheet bonus, I’m more bothered about the goals going in at the other end, and that was something we drastically failed to execute.

Sam: While the performance as a whole was generally pretty frustrating, I’m slightly more upbeat than Paddy about how the defence played.

Ibrahima Konate has quietly been superb over the last couple of weeks, and Virgil van Dijk dealt with a couple of situations very calmly. Even Kostas Tsimikas looked fairly assured.

Along with Arsenal, Liverpool have conceded 15 goals so far – that’s the joint fewest in the Premier League. It gives us a good base to build from, though defending is a team practice, not just for the five deepest players.

 

What would you do selection-wise vs. West Ham?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and Kostas Tsimikas after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. The game ended in a goal-less draw. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Paddy: There’s got to be a little bit of rotation, but it’s still a big, big game; I think Cody Gakpo, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Joe Gomez are all shoo-ins for a start.

I would probably drop Trent Alexander-Arnold, though, purely because of the Arsenal game looming.

Sam: Personally, I would keep the team strong. I want to win the competition but victory also helps build confidence ahead of facing Arsenal.

With the changes Paddy suggested, we can still field a strong side. However, I would like to see Alexander-Arnold play as he is so key to creating chances.

Jarell Quansah starting wouldn’t be a disaster by any means either, which is testament to how well the youngster has done this season.