Talking Numbers: Man United Draw Against Liverpool
Manchester United have done it, they are the first team to stop Liverpool in Premier League since 3 March when Everton drew 0-0 against them in 2018-19 season. The goals from Marcus Rashford and Adam Lallana were what we saw on the night in terms of result, but there were plenty of other things, too.
We spoke yesterday about some of them, but tonight we will be looking at some of the others.
Marcus Rashford had a lively performance. It was not his best game, especially due to the way the game panned out in the end, but he scored the goal and was proactive for United to try and do something both with and without the ball. Rashford’s positioning for that goal that came after Daniel James’ brilliantly weighed cross was impeccable, as he knew when to drift off from his marker to be able to score the goal.
But he also did other things. Considering United did not have a lot of the ball at their feet, Rashford felt the need to progress the ball up the pitch in the lack of some more coherent creative setup. He attempted seven dribbles on the night and succeeded on four occasions, whilst also trying to create for others and himself. A much improved performance from those we have seen in recent months.
Pereira Shows Both Good And Bad
Yesterday, we wrote about Andreas Pereira having a good game, mostly in the first half. It was aimed at his intelligent moves to close off lanes for Fabinho, both for him to pass and to collect passes from his teammates. Pereira, played in behind the two strikers and he was playing directly against Brazilian defensive midfielder. In that line of duty, Pereira surprised positively.
But on the other hand, there were still some of the usual things, as Pereira lost possession on nine occasions. Against Liverpool, that can be expected, but considering that he was the linkup man, the one that needed to progress the ball for the forwards, he failed to do that to the extent he did the other part of his job. Still, at least we had seen his role.
Clear Idea From Solskjaer
And what we also had seen was a clear idea from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of how his team were going to play. That was one of the four things we mentioned on Saturday, talking about things we would like to see against Liverpool and United had a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve.
Some may argue that was not pleasant on the eye or even a good idea, but it worked this time and it also showed that United had some clear principles. They sat back, had less than 40 per cent of the ball and had completed almost two and a half times less passes.
But the idea was to make Liverpool confused and punish them through pacey counterattacks. That worked this time, but that can only work when United are the underdogs. Now we need to see the other side of the story.