Wednesday 15 August 2018

Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho in focus

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho saw his side draw 0-0 with Liverpool
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho saw his side draw 0-0 with Liverpool

The eagerly-anticipated clash between Liverpool and Manchester United ended goalless as Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho cancelled one another out.

Here, Press Association Sport's Simon Peach takes a closer look at the touchline duel at Anfield.

TACTICS

As expected Liverpool lined-up in a 4-3-3 formation, with the only slight surprise Joe Gomez's place at right-back. Sadio Mane's injury meant Philippe Coutinho was bumped forward into the Reds' three-man attack. Roberto Firmino's movement gave United's defence a headache, while Klopp's side pressed high even when the play was not going anywhere. The visitors, by contrast, seemed content to allow Liverpool's defenders to have the ball. What looked set to be a 3-4-3 formation was instead a 4-2-3-1 for United, with Ashley Young deployed as right winger. Phil Jones and Chris Smalling were given the green light to pressure up the field when threats were building, but sat deep as Liverpool's pressure ratcheted up.

TOUCHLINE DEMEANOUR

Both managers started their afternoon in the freshly-painted technical areas, separated by 10 yards. Mourinho's mannerisms belied his smart attire, while casually-dressed Klopp was as expressive as always. The Liverpool boss and his bench were quick to harangue the officials when Romelu Lukaku challenged Dejan Lovren, while Mourinho did not hold back when decisions went against him. Klopp emerged early for the second half and will have been frustrated not to have found a way to break the visitors down.

GAME MANAGEMENT

What the match lacked in thrill it made up for in intrigue as both managers kept faith with their sides after a predictably tense first half. David De Gea had to be at his best when United's defence faltered, while isolated Lukaku mustered just one serious attempt as Liverpool's often shaky defence held firm during. Liverpool upped the ante after the break and Mourinho brought on Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford to add renewed impetus to his attack. It did not work, nor did Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Daniel Sturridge changing the Reds' attacking dynamic.

VERDICT

While not as much of a damp squib as last year's goalless Anfield encounter, this was not a thrill-a-minute clash. Mourinho effectively stunted Liverpool - albeit they rode their luck at times - but was unable to attack in a way that put the hosts' shaky backline in any real danger. Klopp's side had more shots and possession, yet Mourinho once again frustrated the Reds on home turf.

Press Association

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