Premier League Match Report (17/01/21): Liverpool 0-0 Man United
The 2020/21 Premier League season began on 12th September 2020, with the new campaign beginning behind closed doors, with West Brom, Leeds and Fulham returning to England's top-flight. We will be providing match reports from select Premier League games throughout the season as the Covid-era of football continues. All aboard.
Premier League Match Report (GW19): Liverpool 0-0 Man United
The headline fixture for Gameweek 19’s packed schedule featured Man United travelling to Liverpool in a game hyped as two title contenders going at it in a six-pointer that could go a long way to deciding where the trophy goes at the end of the season. The problem with hype though, especially viewing the first-half, is that it can be quite deceiving from reality when a game is flatter than a popped balloon.
The first real opportunity for either side arrived in the 16th minute when a lovely pass from Xherdan Shaqiri, making his first Premier League start for Liverpool since December 2019, cut through United’s midfield trio of Fred, Pogba and McTominay and to the feet of Sadio Mane. The Senegalese winger was able to turn and tee up for Roberto Firmino to fire wildly over with his weaker left foot.
The pressure was all Liverpool’s, with United unable to show any sort of authority of possession, with a few loose-cannon efforts from Wijnaldum, Salah and Shaqiri failing to test David de Gea. Domination from the home side persisted until the 34th minute when Bruno Fernandes unleashed a free-kick from 20-yards-out that flashed a few inches wide of Alisson’s right-post.
Moving into the second-half after a mind-numbing first 45 minutes of action, the lack of anything continued until the 58th minute when Andrew Robertson’s whipped cross from the left-wing found Firmino at the back-post, with Firmino’s stab at the ball intercepted well by Harry Maguire. Less than a couple of minutes later, Salah found some space in the United penalty area and toe-pocked a shot wide with aid of a deflection.
Quickly falling asleep, one shot of adrenaline woke us up when Man United went closest to breaking the deadlock as Bruno Fernande flashed a shot inside the penalty area from six-yards-out, with Alisson saving well to keep the score at 0-0.
The final few minutes of the game saw Man United smell blood in the water, with United breaking through the heart of Liverpool’s team with Cavani and Rashford galloping towards goal, though Fabinho produced an excellent tackle to deny Rashford clear sight at goal. Paul Pogba then shot directly at Alisson after another overload on United’s right-flank – the save in question was great from the Brazilian international and the defining moment of the match.
With a tense last few minutes, the game ended with more fouls, no goals, and points dropped for both as Man City look on in glee as their title rivals both drop points.
Man of the Match: Alisson Becker (LIV)
There are only two considerations for Man of the Match in this tight affair, with Alisson once again the standout player for Liverpool. Roy Keane will probably tell you that saves to deny United in two crucial moments of the match were his job, these particular talking points defined the outcome of the match, making the Brazilian’s four saves the key factor to consider – especially in an FPL sense as the shot-stopper nabbed the additional trio of bonus points as a result.
Luke Shaw does get a shout-out too at left-back as the United defender has always had a habit of marking Mohamed Salah out of games and today was no different.
LIV 0-0 MUN - Insight and Analysis:
by Robert Austin (@HypeTrainRob)
When the Premier League returned last March every single member of the media screamed in unison ‘FOOTBALL IS BACK’! The media hype around the game has since then greatly eclipsed the actual football on the pitch, which can be best described as an organised mess. Covid has long had its claws in the beautiful game at the top and I am safe in saying that the effects of a ‘long Covid’ couldn’t be more true to the viewing experience of watching a Premier League game in 2021, nearly a year after the virus began ravaging the planet.
The action has been dull, laborious, teams have had games postponed, having fixtures spaced out has created viewer fatigue, and there is a giant vacuum created without the pressure’s of fans being in stadiums.
Man United’s goalless draw at Liverpool highlights all of this. A game of very little substance, and equally little hunter, played with caution throughout, which robbed everyone watching at home of their time and patience as each passing Premier League game limps to a dull, uninspired finish.
The first-half was nothing but a stale affair. Liverpool moved the ball at a snail’s pace. Bobby Firmino’s presence in the first-half was counter-intuitive to Liverpool’s attack when they did press. Cheap fouls against Man United slowed the play down considerably. Officials raising the flag late for obvious offsides killed even more seconds. Both teams lacked any passing rhythm and in general you could have watched the game in the second-half and missed virtually nothing.
The second-half was exactly the same affair as the first so you can copy and paste my thoughts with the addition of Alisson making a couple of good saves to deny Pogba and Fernandes, but that was it. There are no other talking points other than the reality that after watching that, I have very little interest in seeing the ‘title race’ play out if the football is being played out in first gear – we need football in this country, but we also need the football to be right. Whatever this was, a supposed football match, was not right.
Manager: Jurgen Klopp
DEF: T. Alexander-Arnold
DEF: J. Henderson
DEF: A. Robertson
MID: X. Shaqiri (Jones 76')
MID: Thiago Alcántara
MID: G. Wijnaldum (Milner 89')
FOR: M. Salah
FOR: R. Firmino (Origi 85')
Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Minamino, Origi, R. Williams, Phillips, Kelleher, N. Williams
Manager: Ole Gunnar Solskjær
GK: D. de Gea
DEF: A. Wan-Bissaka
DEF: V. Lindelöf
DEF: H. Maguire
DEF: L. Shaw
MID: S. McTominay
MID: P. Pogba
MID: Bruno Fernandes (Greenwood 89')
MID: A. Martial (Cavan 61')
FOR: M. Rashford
Bailly, Cavani, Mata, Greenwood, Henderson, Telles, Matic, van de Beek, Tuanzebe
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The Hype Train is an entertainment website founded in 2015, specialising in Fantasy sports reporting, starting with Fantasy Premier League (FPL), before expanding to MLS Fantasy coverage in 2018.
We pride ourselves in providing beautiful graphics, statistics, in-depth analytical reporting and free weekly insight for hopeful players attempting to climb rankings tables. We are also occasional media reviewers, with a keen interest to review games, live sport, and professional wrestling.
In 2019, Hype Train Football Club was formed, becoming the first Fantasy Football website to take to the field. HTFC is a socially active team across social and web channels, providing regular match highlights, match reports, comprehensive player statistics and unique player profiles.
The Hype Train were nominated and shortlisted for the 'Best Football Blog' in 2016 by the Football Bloggers Association at their annual Football Blogging Awards (The FBA's), and were again shortlisted as a finalist in 2019 in the 'Best Fantasy Football Blog' category.