Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: David de Gea denies hosts

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Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: David de Gea denies hosts

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by a stubborn Manchester United in Monday night’s Premier League clash at Anfield.

Goalkeeper David de Gea made two fine second-half saves from Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho to deny Liverpool the chance to move joint top of the Premier League.

It was dubbed ‘Red Monday’, but the game was largely controlled by the away side playing in blue – and they missed a good chance to take all three points when Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a simple second-half header.

 But the draw meant neither side would move up the Premier League table with Liverpool fourth and United down in seventh.

Jurgen Klopp’s attacking options were limited from the start as Georginio Wijnaldum missed out through injury and Adam Lallana was only fit enough to make the bench, which meant Can and Daniel Sturridge were given a chance to impress.

Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard dropped out of the United team with Marouane Fellaini included in midfield and Ashley Young – starting a league game for the first time since January – given the nod as the left-sided attacker. Wayne Rooney was again kept in reserve.

Marcus Rashford, starting on the right, avoided an early booking for a late challenge on James Milner and while the fans at the newly-expanded Anfield roared their anger at the foul, they soon quietened through frustration as their side was stifled throughout the first 45 minutes.

United defended deep but consistently threatened on the counter attack; almost carving out an opening when Rashford beat Milner and forced Loris Karius to push away his low cross with Ibrahimovic lurking.

Roberto Firmino’s 29th-minute header from Jordan Henderson’s diagonal ball warmed the palms of De Gea, but that was as close as either side got to a goal before the break.

Liverpool’s nerves were frayed shortly after the interval when 23-year-old Karius sloppily kicked a back-pass straight to the feet of Paul Pogba on the edge of the area. He passed straight to Ibrahimovic and the linesman’s flag spared the goalkeeper’s blushes.

And minutes later Ibrahimovic spurned his side’s best chance of the night when he failed to head Pogba’s inch-perfect cross on target with the goal at his mercy.

De Gea was called into serious action for the first time on 59 minutes when Can bulldozed into the penalty area and shot through a crowd from 12 yards, forcing the United goalkeeper to push smartly away to his right.

And he made an even better save 19 minutes from the end when he threw himself to his left to push away a superb 30-yard strike out of nowhere from Coutinho.

And while De Gea will take the plaudits for those moments, his manager Jose Mourinho will surely be satisfied by a diligent team performance ahead of his return to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Super Sunday.

Meanwhile, Antonio Valencia’s brilliant late tackle to deny the rampaging Firmino summed up a frustrating night for Liverpool, who welcome West Brom to Anfield next on Saturday evening.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Karius (4), Clyne (6), Matip (6), Lovren (6), Milner (5), Henderson (6), Can (6), Coutinho (5), Firmino (5), Mane (5), Sturridge (5)

Used subs: Lallana (5), Origi (n/a), Moreno (n/a)

Man Utd: De Gea (8), Valencia (6), Bailly (6), Smalling (6), Blind (6), Fellaini (6), Pogba (6), Rashford (6), Herrera (8), Young (7), Ibrahimovic (5)

Used subs: Rooney (5), Shaw (n/a)

Man of the match: Ander Herrera