Liverpool were not shy in peppering Man United‘s goal at Anfield, and while they had quantity on their side, the quality was absent entirely to set a new unwanted record.
Leading up to the match the rhetoric centred around the embarrassment that was United’s last trip to Anfield, but Liverpool fans would be the first to admit they were taking nothing for granted.
Jurgen Klopp‘s side were the better team and had ample opportunities to inflict the crucial blow, they smothered United and, as per FotMob, the Reds had 49 touches in the opposition box compared to 13 for Erik ten Hag’s side.
But Liverpool were often rushed, and while Klopp noted the performance was the “best” from this group when it came to counter-pressing, there were plenty of lessons to learn.
The manager doesn’t have a lot of time to teach during this hectic schedule, but one message will be made clear and that’s having the composure to do “the right things again and again.”
Quantity over quality
Unbelievably, Liverpool had a total of 34 shots against Man United and not one landed in the back of the net – making it the Reds’ most on record in the Premier League without a goal since Opta‘s stats were first recorded in 2003/04.
It, thankfully, does not take the competition record which is held by Chelsea, they attempted 39 shots without a goal in 2014 – though, Liverpool came pretty close, didn’t they?
The manager noted post-match that the goals against Fulham may have provided a false sense of security from outside the box, as the Reds took 15 shots from distance, with the other 19 taken inside the box.
Just look at FotMob’s shot map above, it really tells a story. Thirteen different players made at least one attempt.
United were constantly under threat, the Reds managed an xG of 2.38 – compared to United’s 0.75 – and forced the visitors to make 45 clearances and 13 blocks, plus the eight saves from Andre Onana.
Quantity was not a problem but only one big chance was created by the Reds, and Ryan Gravenberch was responsible for the best chance measured by xG, with 0.41, and that shot came in the 16th minute.
There was no threat and that created frustration and a desperate need to do something rather than stick to the team’s principles.
Take it to the other end
Now, Alisson did not have that much to do considering Liverpool’s dominance in possession and with territory – but that’s, arguably, when a goalkeeper is truly tested.
You couldn’t blame him if his concentration waned on a cold night with little goalmouth action, but he was there every single time his team needed him and kept another invaluable clean sheet.
Not a bad record!
Crucially, Alisson was also extremely efficient with his ball use on Sunday, with a 97 percent accuracy with his passes – Onana, comparatively, finished with 63 percent accuracy.
It is just a shame we didn’t truly test out the United ‘keeper’s saving ability, hopefully next time!
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