A historic night at Anfield for Liverpool that will be remembered for time to come, Jurgen’s men turned over Manchester United and netted three times, with Mourinho’s side only grabbing one goal that came through an Alisson error. The Anfield Talk’s Joe (@_joedownes) looks at the blow-by-blow of Liverpool’s 18th Premier League game straight undefeated.
A late change to Manchester United’s line-up came, with Chris Smalling injured in the warm-up pre-game. Eric Bailly stepped into the Starting XI and Phil Jones took his place on the bench. Eric Bailly’s last competitive meeting with Liverpool was one to forget, whilst still winning, the Ivorian scored an own goal and gave the Reds an opportunity to come back into the game.
Both teams started strong. A Liverpool counter-attack was started by Mohamed Salah driving forward and laying the ball off to Firmino, a shot is fired at the goal but is blocked, out for a corner, resulting in nothing.
Lukaku comes closest in the first few minutes, with the ball in the net, but the linesman intervenes, ruling the goal out for offside. Lifeline for Liverpool.
A terrific atmosphere drives the Reds forward, forcing De Gea into action. The Spaniard makes a strong save down to his left, parrying it only as far as Salah, Victor Lindelof defends well and prevents Mo from scoring early.
Another fast attack results in a decent effort at goal, Mohamed Salah drives into the box but the ball sticks under his feet and is forced into passing. The recipient of the pass, Sadio Mane, goes for goal but Bailly blocks it and the ball eventually falls to Fabinho. He drives the ball towards goal, but a deflection takes it wide.
A dominant start for Jurgen’s men has established the home side as the more dangerous in attack so far. United’s midfield is looking shaken by the pace of Liverpool, overrun numerically and not able to keep the ball at the moment. Liverpool’s high press is boxing the visitors in, forcing them to resort to long-balls over the top whilst they soak up the Red’s pressure.
Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United.
After a tough start for United, the inevitable came. Fabinho lofts a perfectly weighted ball over the visitor’s defence and Sadio Mane is clear to slot it into the net, opening the scoring and giving Liverpool a well-deserved lead.
Ashley Young is caught off-guard and allows the Senegalese winger to sneak in behind and score.
Flood-gates seem to have opened in terms of bookings now, with the first one going towards Diogo Dalot for a late challenge deep down the wing, gifting Liverpool a free-kick in a promising position.
Dejan Lovren of all people rises highest to Firmino’s cross, a few bounces later it falls to Lovren a few yards back, leaning too far back it’s always rising and United are safe once again.
For all the praise he has been deservedly getting for his recent performances, Alisson makes a blunder that is completely out of character.
Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United.
Lukaku’s low cross into the six-yard box is, theoretically, easily claimable for the keeper, but the wet surface leads to the Brazilian spilling it into the path of Lingard who hammers home to level the scores. Anfield faithful have been silenced by Jesse Lingard and it’s back to square one for Liverpool.
A special mention to Nathaniel Clyne, starved for playing time over the last year and a half, he has come in and played a solid game at right-back in the absence of Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Medical staff are welcomed to the pitch, as Lukaku goes through the legs of a Liverpool player, losing control of the ball, the Belgian dives into a tackle, bearing his studs the whole way, calls for a red card a heckled from the Liverpool fans, but a yellow is all that is shown.
Two extra minutes remain in this first half, Liverpool look to extend the score-line to be in their favour, whilst Mourinho’s Manchester United seem to be happy to sit back and settle for a draw.
Terrific run in behind from Sadio Mane leaves just De Gea to beat before having an empty net to score in, but the keeper rushes off his line to make a strong save. Linesman’s flag is up anyway so it wouldn’t have counted either way.
Halftime. Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United.
Early substitution from the visitors, Marouane Fellani replaces the young Diogo Dalot, reverting Mourinho’s side to a more traditional 4-3-3, hoping to cause Liverpool more problems. The opposite happens, however, with Ashley Young limping after a sore challenge on Sadio Mane.
Robertson is slowly creeping further up that left-flank, being afforded more space as the minutes go on, providing another outlet for Jurgen’s men. Firmino has really played like we know he can for parts of this game, and that stands currently, with De Gea forced into a terrific save to deny the forward.
Bailly was down with a back injury after falling awkwardly just moments before the Firmino chance, the United medical team are on the pitch to treat the defender, seemingly fine to continue, play commences once again.
Liverpool were all over this game, United look to press higher to counter this dominance, but the pressure is once again mounting for Mourinho. Press gone, United are effectively inviting pressure onto themselves, the Reds seem to be closer to a winner than ever before.
So many corners have amounted to nothing so far, the delivery has been poor, often not beating the first man, Salah tries a low ball, a stroke of luck means it ends up at van Dijk’s feet and he shoots into a deflection for another corner.
Liverpool lead again, it’s 2-1!
Here is the Liverpool substitution, with Naby Keita replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri, can he be the impact sub we need? OF COURSE, HE CAN! Only two minutes after entering the field, Shaqiri finds the ball on the edge of the box who sprints onto it and rockets the ball into Young’s leg, ricocheting it into the goal off the crossbar, he is ecstatic. It doesn’t matter how they go in sometimes, and Anfield is in uproar!
The game has slowed down dramatically now, Mourinho resorts to a second change, replacing Ander Herrera with Anthony Martial who is playing through a groin injury. It’s had the opposite impact, however, with Liverpool grabbing another.
Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United.
The man to score it? Xherdan Shaqiri, two in ten minutes for the Swiss creator, and this one seemingly will clinch all three points for definite! Unbelievable is the impact he has made, another deflected goal comes through Salah laying it off to Shaqiri, who attempts to fire it into De Gea’s left-post, a deflection takes it into the other side and nestles it into the bottom corner. Domination of the second half, the scoreline now reflects how the game has been played out.
Looking to shut up shop, Jordan Henderson is introduced to the game, replacing Sadio Mane, who has been lively up top for his whole time on the field. The substitution is mimicked by United, who replace their goal scorer, Lingard, with Juan Mata.
A sense of premature victory is shrouding Anfield and Liverpool, with the tempo of the game slowing massively and the visitors lacking any goal threat. Jurgen’s side are enjoying themselves here, with Henderson lashing a shot high over the bar following excellent linkup play from Salah and Firmino. 3 minutes are signalled to be added to the final 90.
Liverpool haven’t stopped, despite having the win all but wrapped up. A good effort from Salah proceeds a Robertson cutback, but the Egyptian can’t keep his shot down and he sends the ball over the crossbar. 36 efforts show the dominance by the reds.
A win for the ages maintains Liverpool’s top of the league stance and proved they can dominate against top 6 sides, setting a new record of 18 premier league unbeaten games in the process.