Fans frustrated as Man United blank Reds out

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Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini challenges Liverpool's Emre Can at Anfield. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini challenges Liverpool’s Emre Can at Anfield. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

With the football world watching after such huge anticipation, the two historic heavyweights of English football had to settle for a rather subdued 0-0 draw as Manchester United held Liverpool at Anfield.

In what was the first encounter between Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho as managers of Liverpool and United, some might have expected the much-hyped clash to be full of emotion, action and drama.

However, for the first time since September 2005, this disappointing fixture ended goalless.

The two teams remain in their current positions in the Premier League, with the Reds fourth and United sitting in seventh.

It was very much a defensive Mourinho team at work for the visitors, and considering all of the talk before this titanic clash about the appointment of Greater Manchester referee Anthony Taylor, the sting was taken out of the encounter early on.

Manchester United's Antonio Valencia clashes with Liverpool's Roberto Firmino at Anfield. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia clashes with Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino at Anfield. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

The opening period was devoid of chances, a tactical game of chess from the off. The Red Devils’ defensive triangle, anchored by six defenders in the back line, didn’t allow enough space for Liverpool to get a proper sight at goal.

Mourinho’s men succeeded in quietening the crowd, but their creative players were so deep they offered little offence in return.

Whatever Klopp said during the interval, it certainly gave his side a boost, but his choice of the nervy Loris Karius in goal inspired no confidence. The German ‘keeper’s air of unease was epitomised by one sloppy pass which ended up at the feet of Zlatan Ibrahimovic whose shot was narrowly wide, though offside.

Liverpool finally threatened when Joel Matip found Emre Can behind the United defence just before the hour mark, but David De Gea got down quickly to bat away his effort.

The Reds were at it again just after the 70th minute when Phillipe Coutinho jigged past Paul Pogba and let fly a wonderful strike that forced another fine save from the Spaniard.

Ibrahimovic – a repeat offender – finally received a yellow card with a minute to go, but the red hot rivals had to settle for a point each from a match that would have disappointed many millions tuning in.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp greets Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho at Anfield. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp greets Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho at Anfield. Pic © David Rawcliffe Propaganda Photo

Klopp told BBC Sport: “I am not frustrated but I am not happy with the performance. No one will show this game in 10 or 20 years but we could have played better.

“It was a hectic game, interrupted here and there but we lost patience with our passing game. The attitude of my team was really good. We were ready to fight but when you can play better you have to.”

Mourinho told Sky Sports: “It was a very difficult game but more difficult for them than us. We kept control of the game for long periods and started really well and were in control.

“David de Gea made good saves but they were isolated from the context, it was under control. We controlled the emotion of ourselves.”

YouTube: Jurgen Klopp talks to Sky Sports

About David Purcell, JMU Journalism