Manchester United and Liverpool battled it out at Anfield and while both teams showed flashes and pushed hard for the win the game ended in a draw leaving Manchester United at the top of the table.
Here are a few things we learned from the game.
THIAGO ALCANTARA; ONE OF THE BEST
The Spanish acquisition from Bayern Munich has had injury struggles, but there has never been doubts about his abilities, and they were in full display in the game. He was everywhere on the pitch creating the most chances in the game (2), getting shots off and also sticking to his defensive duties boasting the most interceptions (7) and tackles (3) in the game(according to Squawka). His execution was effortless, and the impact was felt for the entirety of the game. He is very good in small spaces, he’s passes are crisp and incisive, and he has the energy to thrive in Liverpool’s system. And while he doesn’t have the stats to take him to the very top of “Midfield Royalty” he is without a doubt one of the best midfield players in the world.
PAUL POGBA’S RESURGENCE
The Manchester United midfielder was coming off really good games and needed to put up a similar performance against Liverpool, and he did. Deployed at an unusual right-wing position he was crucial for Manchester United not just in attack but tracking back to help curtail Andrew Robertson. He was focal to the team in transition and had the best chance for United only to be denied by Allison. If Manchester United want to keep their spot at the top of the table, they’ll need more of the same from Pogba.
MANCHESTER UNITED DEFENCE
Harry Maguire and Manchester United’s defence get a lot of criticism for not being aggressive, lacking speed and slow on anticipation. But they seem to have turned a corner in recent weeks. Bailey had started the last couple of games, and so it was a surprise when Lindelof started ahead of him. The Swede put in a great performance finishing with 10 clearances. His counterpart Harry Maguire was flawless in duels contested both on the air and ground finishing with a combined 7 duels won whilst also finishing with the most blocks and interceptions for the team. They were solid defensively, getting first to all contested balls and also helped the team transition quickly. David DeGea pulled off a super save to keep Thiago from scoring and Wan Bissaka remains the best one on one defender in the world. Manchester United’s defence is really good and would be huge in sustaining a push for the title.
TITLE RACE NOT OVER YET
United would have had a 6-point gap with a win at Anfield. Having failed to do that, the title race remains as open as ever. Manchester United has failed to beat any of the traditional top 6 teams this year, scoring a combined one goal against them. Liverpool is currently on a 4 game winless run and has a ton of injuries on defence, and Manchester City seems to be on the rise. Almost every year the Premier League winner is determined by a photo finish, and it looks like this year will give us that.