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Jose Mourinho: Liverpool's defensive approach stopped Man United

Jose Mourinho: Liverpool's defensive approach stopped Man United


Jose Mourinho frustrated Liverpool once more as the Reds were unable to break down his blanket defence in Saturday's 0-0 draw. Liverpool bossed the game and had most of the chances, but yet again they were unable to turn dominance into goals and two more points have been dropped.


Considering their poor run of results it is encouraging that Liverpool's players do not seem to have allowed it to knock their confidence and their performance level remains high. They played very well in this game and defensively they were excellent in stopping United from launching any dangerous counterattacks.


The lack of ruthlessness in front of goal is killing Jurgen Klopp's team right now.

Manager rating out of 10

6 -- There can be few complaints with the starting lineup or how the team was set up, but taking off Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho was strange and will have gone down far better with Manchester United fans than Kopites.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Simon Mignolet, 7-- Only called into action once but thankfully he was up to the challenge and denied his compatriot Romelu Lukaku with a fine save in the first half. Had nothing else to do.

DF Joe Gomez, 8 -- Excellent from the youngster. Kept the dangerous Anthony Martial quiet and when the Frenchman was replaced by the equally dangerous Marcus Rashofrd, Gomez shut him down too. Much better in possession than he has been recently too.

DF Joel Matip, 7 -- Composed display, carried the ball out of defence on several occasions and came closest to scoring when he forced a brilliant save from David De Gea. Should have done better with a late header that he put over the bar though.

DF Dejan Lovren, 7 -- Battled hard with Lukaku and generally had the upper hand with one exception when he was turned by the striker in the first half. As with Matip, should have done better with a late header in front of the Kop that he failed to keep down.

DF Alberto Moreno, 8 -- Combative, determined display from the little Spaniard who won far more headers than a man of his diminutive stature is entitled to. Defended well throughout, kept his concentration and provided a useful outlet on the left.

MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- Disciplined showing from the skipper who kept his passing simple and spent much of the game patrolling in front of his centre-backs to stop Lukaku getting on the ball. Late on he was the one pressing United's midfield high up the pitch as he led by example.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 7 -- So often the man for the big occasion, Wijnaldum started the game in blistering fashion and was involved in almost everything good Liverpool produced. His impact waned in the second half but he was strong in possession and used the ball efficiently.

MF Emre Can, 6 -- Put himself about but with little reward. Couldn't hit the target with a close range effort in front of the Kop and then shot tamely at De Gea following a surging run from deep.

FW Philippe Coutinho, 7 -- Lots of nice twists and turns to make space for himself in midfield, but found it tough to pick his way through United's packed defence. Withdrawn late on, when perhaps it would have made more sense to move him back into midfield.

FW Roberto Firmino, 6 -- Worked hard and linked well with teammates but Liverpool's lack of a proven goal threat at centre forward is proving costly right now. Firmino does a lot of good things but he's no Harry Kane or Sergio Aguero.

FW Mohamed Salah, 7 -- Tormented Matteo Darmian in the first half and always looked the most likely to make a breakthrough. Darmian had more cover from team-mates after the break and the Egyptian wasn't as much of a factor, but it was still surprising to see him substituted.


FW Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, N/R -- Lively cameo. Direct and purposeful and was going past Darmian with ease. Deserves to start more games now in the absence of Sadio Mane.

FW Daniel Sturridge, N/R -- Made no impact whatsoever.

FW Dominic Solanke, N/R -- Only on the field for a few minutes and probably should have been given longer. His ability to find space in the penalty area and attack the ball is something Liverpool could certainly use at the moment.

Dave Usher is one of ESPN's Liverpool bloggers and the founder of LFC fanzine and website The Liverpool Way. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.

Jose Mourinho has said Jurgen Klopp played a part in ensuring a second straight goalless draw between Manchester United and Liverpool at Anfield.

Klopp said afterwards Mourinho "had wanted a point" while insisting his team "had wanted three points."

In a repeat of the last season's fixture, United could only manage one shot on target, although that was a good chance that fell to Romelu Lukaku.

Former United defender and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said Liverpool's ambition to win the game had been "measured."

Mourinho went a step further and questioned why Klopp had not shown the adventure to replace one of his three central midfield players with another attacker despite United fielding just two in Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera because of injuries to Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick

Mourinho told Sky Sports: "In the first half, while we had energy in our midfield, we were very much in control. We had no problems and they had one chance. Apart from that we had total control.

"When they had the balls they didn't find any solutions. We had a great chance with Lukaku and a couple more.

"In the second half, I was feeling that I need my bench and I had no bench. I need to play against Henderson, Can and Wijnaldum with power and energy and no power, no energy.

"We were playing with only two midfield players and nobody else to compensate that. So progressively we were losing some control and they were having a little bit more initiative and in the end, a point.

"Pogba, Fellaini and Carrick are three midfield players that we don't have. They played 90 minutes with Can, Henderson and Wijnaldum. I thought, playing at home, seven points behind us, they are going to change but they never did.

"They kept three midfield players in the centre of the pitch and I had no chance to answer."

Mourinho is likely to face more criticism for the way he approached the trip to Anfield but the United manager insisted it was a "positive" result.

It maintains their unbeaten start of the season with games against Tottenham and Chelsea to come in the next three weeks.

Mourinho added: "It is easy for the experts to speak but it is more difficult when you are on this side. Liverpool midfield was really strong and they never changed for 90 minutes.

"I had no chance to bring the game in another relation so I think it's a positive point for us. We controlled them and it was quite frustrating for them."

David De Gea was United's stand-out player after conjuring a fantastic reaction save to deny Joel Matip in the first half.

He said: "It's instinct. The ball is so quick but I got my foot and saved the ball so, good.

"Every save is important, especially here at Anfield. It's one point for us and we have to keep going."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.