SOUVENIR PROGRAMME

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) and Manchester United's goalkeeper André Onana during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 0-0 Man United: Reds awful as huge opportunity wasted

Liverpool turned in a tired, sluggish performance to let expectations down at Anfield, drawing 0-0 with Man United to relinquish the Premier League‘s top spot.

Liverpool 0-0 Man United

Premier League (17), Anfield
December 17, 2023

Red card: Dalot 90+2′


In front of 57,158, the largest in the league since 1949, Liverpool started fast in a game they were expected to dominate, with United’s back line spooked.

The first real chance came, unsurprisingly, from a mistake from Andre Onana, the goalkeeper fumbling after Darwin Nunez‘s header across goal and Mo Salah‘s shot blocked.

As the half wore on, the atmosphere ebbed to a scary low, which was likely not helped by the failure of Salah, Dominik Szoboszlai and, at times, Trent Alexander-Arnold to hit their passes.

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

Liverpool’s off-ball work kept them in control, with Wataru Endo busy in the No. 6 role and Luis Diaz in particular key in dropping deep to maintain the pressure.

When the half-time whistle blew there was little change in the noise levels around the ground, a stark indictment of a strange 45-plus minutes.

HT: Liverpool 0-0 Man United

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Manchester United's Rasmus Højlund sees his shoot saved by Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There was more urgency after the break, at least, and Alexander-Arnold fired into the side-netting soon after the restart after a darting run into the box.

At the other end, Alejandro Garnacho had a huge chance to open the scoring following Kobbie Mainoo’s brilliant pass, but Alexander-Arnold made an exceptional, last-ditch challenge to deny the winger.

A worrying injury for Ryan Gravenberch paved the way for the first changes of the game, with Jurgen Klopp also ending an awful Szoboszlai showing as Joe Gomez and Cody Gakpo came on.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 17, 2023: Manchester United's Luke Shaw handles the ball but no penalty was awarded during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That gave the Reds half an hour to push on, with Alexander-Arnold sitting alongside Endo in midfield as Salah joined Nunez up front and Gakpo moved to the right.

The chance almost came as Salah’s layoff teed up Alexander-Arnold, whose side-footed effort went just wide, while Alisson made two saves to thwart Rasmus Hojlund in a rare flurry of shots for United.

A late penalty shout was waved away, and Diogo Dalot later sent off for dissent, but Liverpool were not deserving of luck as their 100 percent record at Anfield ended.


TIA Man of the Match: Virgil van Dijk

Referee: Michael Oliver

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Tsimikas; Endo, Szoboszlai (Gomez 61′), Gravenberch (Gakpo 61′); Salah, Nunez (Elliott 78′), Diaz (Jones 78′)

Subs not used: Kelleher, Adrian, Quansah, Bradley, McConnell

Man United: Onana; Dalot, Evans, Varane, Shaw; Amrabat, Mainoo (Pellistri 82′); Antony (Hannibal 82′), McTominay, Garnacho (Rashford 71′); Hojlund

Subs not used: Bayindir, Kambwala, Reguilon, Wan-Bissaka, Gore, Van de Beek

Next match: West Ham (H) – League Cup Quarter-Final – Wednesday, December 20, 8pm (GMT)