United 1 - 1 Liverpool
I am posting this two days after our much hyped game vs Liverpool. Don’t worry, I am not neglecting this blog. I’m just incredibly busy at the moment trying to juggle a lot of things at once.
Looking back at this game, I can say that we should have won the match but we could have easily lost it right at the death. DDG didn’t have much to do throughout the game but he had to stand tall when Liverpool’s Dutch midfielder (I have no clue how to spell his name) was almost in a one-on-one situation and shot straight at Spanish Dave instead of placing the ball. This was the 92nd minute, I think. I almost had a heart attack.
Klopp was peeved after the game as he said we hoofed the ball upfield too often. But what do you expect when a team is chasing a result with 15 minutes to go and has Ibra, Pogba and Fellaini in its ranks? I don’t mind if we resort to this tactic as long as we get something out of it. Ideally, I want to see United play exciting tiki-taka football but when things don’t work, then there should be a plan B and our plan B is the long ball system.
Despite reading how excellent Liverpool were, I believe we were the better team. We had the best chances and we only conceded from the penalty spot. And the penalty conceded wasn’t a case of denying the opponent a chance to score. Pogba forgot one of the fundamentals of playing football, always face/look at the ball when it’s airborne. Unfortunately the ball landed on his hands and Liverpool got the penalty. It was a penalty, yes, but it was a gift. Our act of kindness actually started when Jones was slow on the ball and gave away a needless corner. In my opinion, Jones is at fault as much as Pogba for the penalty. Anyway, both Jones and Pogba have been excellent during the past couple of months of so they are excused. Poor Pogba though, he had a stinker.
I was a bit disappointed with our finishing. Mhkitaryan and Pogba both could have scored during the first half but fluffed their chances. Zlatan looked a tad slow but, as usual, managed to come up with the goods when it all mattered. His 19th goal of the season. Martial had a good first half but waned after the break. Carrick wasn’t at his best either and that’s probably testament to the great work done by Liverpool’s midfield. They pressed us high up the pitch and suffocated our players. That’s the reason why the usually brilliant trio of Carrick-Pogba-Herrera didn’t function in this game and that is why we had to use the long ball system. Despite Pogba and Carrick being below par, I thought Herrera was excellent in this game.
Mourinho should probably be applauded because once again his substitutions had the desired effect. Subs Rooney and Fellaini were both involved in the action that led to our equaliser on the 85th minute. I actually believed we would go on and win the game. Such was the passion shown by our players backed by the roar of the crowd that I thought it was inevitable that we’d score the goal (and if the world was a perfect place, Rooney would score it). Unfortunately, the game ended 1-1. It was a scruffy game that burst into flames and lived to the hype in the final stages.
We still haven’t been beaten in like 3 months and the feel-good factor still reigns at Old Trafford. Sure, we missed a chance on closing the gap between us and Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal and City (I’m not even considering Chelsea), but we played a Liverpool side that is quite good (come on, we have to admit it). Stoke away next. Stoke only lost three times at home this season but we have a pretty good away record so I expect us to do well. Come on United!