Liverpool vs Manchester United

Possibly one of the most fierce rivalries to grace English Football. Dominated by years of success between the Liverpool team of the 70’s and 80‘s to Man United taking over in the 90’s and 2000’s under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Both teams have gone through a bit of a rebuild in the last 5 years or so, from Sir Alex calling time on an amazing career, to Klopp taking over at Liverpool and turning them into a genuine English and European footballing force.

Then how come the latest league meeting between these two was tantamount to watching paint dry?

Simple really, they are set up not to lose, and they can say they are successful in that they both got a point, but they know they wanted 3, but waiting for the other team to slip up generally doesn't work against the top teams.

There is a famous clip of Jose Mourinho in his early Chelsea days giving a team talk and telling his players 'I'm not putting pressure on you about winning, but we cannot lose'.

Bruno Fernandes has been Man United's best player since he arrived last January, but there's this thought about him that he disappears in big games. And it can be said for a lot of players within the big 6 clubs. Their creativity and fluidity to their game is stifled by defensive duties. He looked lost on Sunday against Liverpool, he was asked to sit too far back and to stop Liverpool playing football. Which credit to him, he did, Thiago couldn't get himself going in the game either, because he was given the opposite task, stop Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes has been substituted 5 times in the last 7 games against the other supposed big 6 teams. He was taken off at half time against Tottenham when they were 2-1 down and went on to lose 6-1. Is it right to blame Fernandes? Or should we blaming Solksjaer? Should he be using his other options to do the defensive work and let his creative players...well, create! Van de Beek? Or should he be thinking in the Sir Alex Ferguson way, we play our football, we attack and we create. It's down to the other team to stop us.

I'm not saying Solksjaer should be sacked, not by any stretch of the imagination, but he just needs different ideas at times. He has done a good job at Man United. He had the new manager bounce when he was winning, the memorable night in Paris certainly helped his case. He's been through the downturn of results, but he's now picked his team up, dusted themselves off and got on with the job in hand. Nobody at the start of the season saw Manchester United being top after New Year did they? They've gone about their objectives quietly and calmly and sneaked up on the rest of the clubs at the top. Fair play to them!

Salah for Liverpool faced exactly the same. Luke Shaw had one of his better games in a Man United shirt defensively. He stopped Salah every time, he emptied his pockets at the end of the game and Salah fell out (probably hoping to get a penalty for it too!)

We just want so much more from these players, yes Shaw had a good game, but he could have done so much more if he was allowed the freedom to get forward down the wings and create chances for what must have been a very lonely night up front for Martial. The midfield battle is where its won or lost but when you put two brick walls against each other, nothing is going to happen. We see it so often with these big build up matches.

Klopp seems to have taken his 'Heavy Metal Football' and toned it down to 'on hold music football' this season. Don't get me wrong, there are still some amazing performances from this Liverpool side he has assembled, but this certainly wasn't a classic. The Liverpool team of even last year wouldn't have got battered by Aston Villa 7-2, they wouldn't be losing 1-0 to an early goal against Southampton. They would have turned that around and gone on to win 3 or 4-1 last season.

Anfield has one of, if not the best atmosphere for home fans in the Premier League, the Kop can win you a game, get you that goal to give the players the boost they need. But these are professional players at the top of the game. The fans do make a difference, but they shouldn't be needed to this extent in stadiums. Liverpool went out and demolished a very poor Crystal Palace team 7-0 and everybody thought that was the turning point for Liverpool to run away with the League. A week later they draw 1-1 at home with West Brom.

Maybe this is the season for Leicester to win the League again? One could argue they are even better now as a team and for the experience they have of winning the league than when they actually won it.

The big 6 are failing, and a some of them are failing that miserably that we may have to revoke their membership for the big 6.


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