AN ANFIELD stalemate on Saturday led both managers to defend their tactics after a goalless draw was played out on a warm afternoon on Merseyside.
“We came for three points,” said Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. “But in the second half we felt it was difficult to do that with the dynamic the match had.
“I was waiting for Jurgen [Klopp] to change. I was waiting for him to go more attacking but he kept the three strong midfield players all the time.”
Joel Matip and Emre Can had good chances for Liverpool, but the central defender was thwarted by an excellent save from David de Gea in the first half, and Can sent his close range shot from a Joe Gomez cross into the Kop in the second.
As Mourinho pointed out, Klopp made like-for-like changes rather than forcing the issue, but the Liverpool manager was pleased with the balance his side had.
“We protected our offensive situation perfectly against one of the best counterattacking teams in the world,” he said. “If you don’t protect [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, he runs from here back to Manchester with the ball — and [Romelu] Lukaku — we defended well.”
The Belgian striker had United’s best chance just before the break after some good play from Anthony Martial, but Simon Mignolet was able to get in the way of his shot. It was to be the visitors’ last attempt of the game, and their only effort on target.
The performance from the fans was one part of the occasion which lived up to the pre-match hype, and the wall of noise which engulfed Anfield, especially in the early stages, was fitting of this rivalry. But Mourinho defended the spectacle.
“It depends what for you is an entertaining game,” said the Portuguese. “One thing is an entertaining game for fans, another thing is an entertaining game for the people who read football in a different way.
“For me, the second half was a game of chess, but my opponent didn’t open the door for me to win.”
Klopp refused to criticise the opposition’s “defensive approach,” and was pleased with his side’s performance and the chances they created.
The best of these should have arrived from the penalty spot when Ander Herrera fouled Philippe Coutinho just inside the area, but the claims were half-hearted, which might have influenced the referee’s decision not to point to the spot.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.