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Published: 21:53 | 17/10/16

Liverpool and Man Utd ends goalless

Liverpool and Manchester United were forced to share the spoils after the sides played out a tight 0-0 draw at Anfield.

Jose Mourinho has made a career out of getting draws in tough away fixtures and the Portuguese's tactical plan came up trumps once again.

Facing a rampant Liverpool who knew a victory by a three-goal margin would see them move to the top of the Premier League table, Utd set up to prevent their opponents the time on the ball to establish any kind of rhythm.

Jurgen Klopp's side had only two clearcut chances in he 90 minutes, first Philippe Coutinho and then Emre Can finding David de Gea in impressive form in the Utd goal.

The visitors struggled to find any real quality in the final third, never forcing Loris Karius to produce a special save and having their best chance squandered by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the Swede miscuing his header when six yards form goal.

The point means that Liverpool stay in fourth, two points off top spot.

While Utd's supporters may bemoan their team's lack of attacking intent, the need to avoid defeat was such that they can be content with achieving that objective.

Although Mourinho has yet to shape Utd into a fluent force in the opposition half, this was evidence that he can still organise his side to take a point in a tough away fixture.

The Utd boss sprung a surprise in his line-up, Ashley Young making a first Premier League start since January in place of Jesse Lingard while Marouane Fellaini came in for Juan Mata; for the hosts Daniel Sturridge replaced the injured Adam Lallana, with Can filling in for Georginio Wijnaldum.

From the first minute it was clear that Mourinho’s plan was to have his front and wide men press Liverpool high up the pitch and when in possession, to send make sure the play was in their opponents’ half.

The tactic negated much of Liverpool’s attempts to put together attacking moves in the first half hour of the game, Utd the better side but lacking sharpness in the final third.

The hosts began to find space and a little more time on the ball as the opening 45 minutes came to a close but without creating any clear opportunities or really testing de Gea.

Karius, who had looked slightly shaky with the ball at his feet, almost gifted Utd golden chance not long after the restart, his pass finding Paul Pogba just inside the box but rather than shoot first time, the Frenchman tried to pick out Zlatan Ibrahimovic in an offside position.

It was the same duo minutes later who combined to almost produce the first goal, Pogba doing brilliantly to beat a defender and send in a perfect deep cross but Ibrahimovic’s header from close range was ill-timed and the chance was wasted.

At the other end Liverpool carved out a clear chance of their own, Can digging out a shot surrounded by bodies 12 yards out but de Gea, stretching, palmed the ball away to safety.

The Merseysiders, with Lallana on for the ineffective Sturridge, began to take control of the contest and de Gea was called into action again, this time doing superbly to tip away a Philippe Coutinho rocket from distance.

As the game entered its closing stages, Utd posed even less of a threat on the counter-attack but, apart from when Antonio Valencia produced a stunning tackle to dispossess Roberto Firmino as he prepared to pull the trigger, they kept Liverpool at arm's length.

The draw leaves Utd five points off the pace in seventh, three behind their fiercest rivals.

Source ISNTV

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