If you wanted to watch a summary Liverpool’s shortcomings this season, this game had it all. Despite creating the lion’s share of chances, Liverpool simply could not find the back of the net. Lallana and Milner squandered good opportunities following excellent long passes by Lucas and Firmino respectively, whilst Henderson and Can also passed up several other promising chances. Eventually, Liverpool’s lack of cutting edge proved costly once again, as more disorganised set piece defending allowed Rooney to volley in the rebound after Fellaini’s header hit the bar. It was enough to gift United the three points, with their first and only shot on target in the game. The defeat leaves Liverpool 8 points adrift from top four, which now looks very much out of the question. In a bitterly disappointing game, here’s how I rated our players.
Simon Mignolet- 5/10
Was hardly tested throughout the game as United barely created any goal scoring opportunities, leaving Mignolet as a spectator. Although perhaps slightly harsh, he could surely have done better with Rooney’s goal, as his strange decision to duck as Rooney shot allowed the ball to go over his head, despite originally being well placed to make a save.
Nathaniel Clyne- 6/10
Displayed his usual energy getting up and down the wing well both going forwards and tracking back, although his final ball was once again lacking quality as he failed to find a team mate with any of his crosses. Relatively trouble-free defensively.
Kolo Toure- 8/10
One of Liverpool’s best performers without a doubt, the 34-year-old veteran used his big-game experience to good effect with a commanding defensive display. Won 100% of his attempted tackles and made several key blocks and interceptions to minimise United’s shooting opportunities.
Mamadou Sakho- 8/10
Sakho has looked somewhat unconvincing since his return from injury, but he was back to his imperious best today with an aggressive and composed performance. One poor pass aside, his use of the ball was much improved compared to recent displays, and he was mostly dominant in the air. Should have made more of Milner’s cross as he headed over the bar from close range.
Alberto Moreno- 7/10
Like Clyne, Moreno showed tremendous energy to provide an attacking outlet whilst covering his defensive duties well. He made a game-high 6 interceptions and 4 tackles in an accomplished individual display without creating any real opportunities from out wide.
Lucas Leiva- 6/10
Threw himself into a 50-50 challenge as he clattered into Fellaini early on, showing exactly the kind of courage and commitment needed in these types of games. His terrific lofted pass to Lallana showed great vision and execution and deserved a better finish. Never afraid to get stuck in, but lost out in several individual battles, winning just 36% of his attempted tackles.
Emre Can- 6/10
Emre Can remains something of an enigma to Liverpool fans. He clearly possesses great natural ability whilst having a frustrating tendency to make sloppy passes and surrender possession far too easily. His passing accuracy of 65% was poor, although his performance was much improved in the second half and he was unfortunate to be denied twice by De Gea after some excellent footwork and powerful strikes.
Jordan Henderson- 5/10
Henderson contributes to much to his team with his composure on the ball and boundless energy, but by his usual high standards this was a sub-par display by the captain. He passed up three promising shooting opportunities, showcasing how finishing remains his biggest weakness. Only won 1/9 of his attempted tackles and wasn’t able to create any chances for his team mates.
James Milner- 5/10
Full of graft and running, but not enough in the way of quality. Badly miscued his finish from Firmino’s excellent pass in the first half, and spurned a promising opportunity later on. Worked hard, and delivered a good cross for Sakho in the second half, but a passinh accuracy of 64% demonstrated his inefficient use of the ball at times.
Adam Lallana- 5/10
Got stuck into challenges and pressed well from the front, particularly early on. Should have done much better as his weak header went straight into the hands of De Gea after he made an intelligent forward run to latch on to Lucas’ lobbed pass. Yet again, plenty of nice touches but a complete lack of cutting edge in the final third. Still yet to score a Premier League goal this season.
Roberto Firmino- 7/10
Led the line well with his clever movement and neat link-up play. Set Milner through on goal with a gorgeously weighted long range pass, and created 5 opportunities throughout the game, more than the entire Man United team put together. Needs more runners and support to finish off the chances he creates. Promising signs once again.
Jordon Ibe- 5/10
On in place of the ineffective Lallana for the final 15 minutes, Ibe was unable to help Liverpool make the breakthrough in a brief and quiet cameo display.
Christian Benteke- N/A
Only played the final 10 minutes as Liverpool went in search of a late equaliser. All he contributed was to stand offside and get in Milner’s way.
Steven Caulker- N/A
A final throw of the dice from Klopp, Caulker was thrown on up front for the final few minutes but to no effect. It just doesn’t seem right having an on-loan QPR centre-back up front. Klopp needs to sign a striker, urgently.