Three key talking points from Man United’s draw with Liverpool

Man United vs Liverpool

Manchester United and Liverpool went head-to-head on Sunday.

Liverpool began the day knowing that Manchester City had reduced their lead at the top of the table to five points, after Pep Guardiola’s men beat Crystal Palace on Saturday.

But Liverpool should still have been full of confidence, as they were yet to lose a league game this campaign before kicking off at Old Trafford.

As for Man United, they began the day down in 14th place, but a win vs Jurgen Klopp’s men would have seen them move up to 7th.

Liverpool would welcome back Alisson vs Man United, with the Brazilian featuring for the first time since the opening day of the PL season vs Norwich.

But Jurgen Klopp’s side would be without Mohamed Salah on Sunday, with the winger suffering from an ankle problem.

Manchester United would suffer an injury shortly before kick-off as well, with Axel Tuanzebe being replaced by Marcos Rojo in the starting eleven.

Here are three key talking points from the clash.

Man United’s wing-back set-up

Manchester United would begin the Liverpool game with a new-look set-up at the back.

United often opt for a four-man defensive formation under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

However, the Norwegian evidently felt as though he needed to change things up a bit to cope with the Champions League holders.

The Reds Devils would start Sunday’s game with a three/five-back formation, with Ashley Young and Aaron Wan-Bissaka occupying the wing-back roles.

While you may have presumed that Man United started with five defenders in order to cope with Liverpool’s eyewatering attack, it was actually quite the opposite in the opening exchanges.

Both AWB and Young would start the game fairly high up the pitch, getting at Liverpool and pressing their full-backs.

In theory, this seemed like a bright idea from OGS, as Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are a big driving force in Liverpool’s creativity.

But with the Liverpool pair having to worry about Young and Wan-Bissaka getting in behind them, they should have been forced to drop back a bit, which would mean Liverpool had less of a creative outlet going forward.

United’s wing-back system would produce fairly positive results in the opening 45, with TAA looking uncomfortable at the back.

Despite the success of the high pressing wing-backs in the first-half, though, United dropped off more in the second 45.

And this, in hindsight, looks to have been a mistake on Solskjaer’s part, as it invited pressure from Liverpool, who eventually equalised through Adam Lallana.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 20: Aaron Wan-Bissaka of Manchester United in action during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford on October 20, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images)

VAR once again involved

Unsurprisingly, VAR was once again a talking point in Liverpool and Man United’s matchup.

The new technology was at the forefront of the news on Saturday during the Tottenham vs Watford clash, with the screen in the stadium having projected a contradictory decision to what was actually awarded.

Now, at Old Trafford, VAR would play a role in Manchester United’s opening goal.

Solskjaer’s side would break with pace through Daniel James, with the Welshman whipping a fine ball into the Liverpool penalty area.

Marcus Rashford would then sell Joel Matip with his run, before tapping home the opening goal in the 37th minute.

However, the controversy arose in the build-up to said goal.

Divock Origi looked to be fouled by Victor Lindelöf before Scott McTominay took possession of the ball and set James away on his run to set up Rashford.

The two key VAR calls

After Rashford had scored, VAR would review the decision, yet despite it having looked as though Origi was clipped by the United defender, the goal still stood.

VAR would then rule out Sadio Mane’s equaliser just before the interval, with the winger adjudged to have handled the ball.

That call actually looked to be the correct one, but it begs the question, if VAR could rule out Mane’s strike, why did it not rule out Rashford’s for what looked a pretty clear foul?

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 20: Divock Origi of Liverpool reacts after appearing to pick up an injury during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford on October 20, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Klopp’s struggles at Old Trafford

Jurgen Klopp has certainly transformed Liverpool during his tenure at Anfield.

From struggling to even crack the top six, the Reds are now one of the best sides in the English top-flight.

Klopp would also earn Liverpool their 6th Champions League title earlier this year.

But while Liverpool’s transformation under the former Borussia Dortmund boss has been spectacular, Klopp is still struggling at Old Trafford.

Prior to Sunday’s game, Klopp had taken his Liverpool side to Old Trafford on four separate occasions.

Klopp would draw with United at Old Trafford in March of 2016 in the Europe League.

Liverpool would draw 1-1 with Man United in the PL in January of 2017, before losing there in the league in March of 2018.

Then, last season at Old Trafford, Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw.

Klopp’s dismal record away to Manchester United continued on Sunday as well, with the tie having ended 1-1 thanks to Adam Lallana rescuing a late draw.

However, Klopp shouldn’t be solely to blame for their draw vs Man United.

The likes of Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Robert Firmino were awful by their usual standards.

See also: Sheffield United vs Arsenal betting tips: Premier League match preview & predictions

Liverpool provide explanation for Salah’s absence vs Man United

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