Paul Pogba.

Anfield aftermath shows how far United have come

Sunday 17 January 2021 19:08

The fact that any Manchester United fan could be disappointed with a draw at Anfield – and there appeared to be some evidence of this on social media after the 0-0 stalemate – speaks volumes.

Liverpool, after all, are not only the reigning champions, but are without defeat in the Premier League on their home patch since April 2017. Even during our periods of dominance in the division, under Sir Alex Ferguson, it remained an extremely hard place to go.

Many pundits felt United were not genuine title contenders and that this match would show it. Well, the proof of this 90 minutes was that there is not much between the two teams at all.

Watching the Reds play Liverpool is always the most stressful of viewings but, in the cold light of day, when the dust has settled on this latest encounter, it will be important to recall how that second half panned out.

The Merseysiders certainly started the better and caused a few scary moments, without ever really testing David De Gea. However, as time wore on, and with the introduction of Edinson Cavani –clearly a tactical move in a bid to go on and win all three points – United looked the likelier victors.

And that comment needs some context. Liverpool are imperious at fortress Anfield and you would have expected an onslaught from them in the closing stages, as part of a determined bid to go back to the top of the table.

In truth, it did not really materialise – even if every emotion is so amplified that it felt like any ball anywhere near our goal was a moment of danger! Instead, Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba had the chances to earn a famous win, only for Alisson to show why he is one of the top keepers in the division.

90 in 20: Liverpool 0 United 0 Video

90 in 20: Liverpool 0 United 0

See how close the Reds came to winning at Anfield in our extended highlights...

The jury will, no doubt, still be out on the Reds. Some will point to the goalless affairs with Chelsea and Manchester City and suggest United do not have the firepower required to win the league. Others might say the fact Liverpool were missing Virgil van Dijk, Joel Matip and Joe Gomez meant this was even an opportunity missed to get at their defence.

As is often the case when a game is hyped beyond belief, there will be others bemoaning a lack of goalmouth action in the tense battle, and instead lauding Manchester City as favourites, when their recent resurgence is based on keeping things water-tight at the back.

Fulham will be tough in midweek – their form has been excellent – but our unbeaten away league run will have stretched to over a year by then. Nobody is getting carried away but United are on the up. And any disappointment at drawing at Anfield is surely evidence of that.

The opinions in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Manchester United Football Club.