United-Liverpool Second Half Notes: Maguire, Fernandes, Thiago, Alisson

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“Is Ole parking the bus here?” One of the NBC announcers asked during the broadcast of Manchester United’s visit to Liverpool. “It could be said, yes,” his partner responded.

“It hasn’t been the spectacle we expected,” one of the broadcasters uttered later. Yes, this is an understatement to say the least. However, it wasn’t your typical goalless draw- there were some albeit not many moments of excitement. This was definitely not the latest league fixture version of the Manchester derby, where the 0-0 scoreline, there, was every bit indicative of how boring that match was.

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While Liverpool dominated the first half, it was actually United who ended up with the best chances, or more of the better scoring chances.

At the 74′, Bruno Fernandes was in point blank range, with an easy simple shot, but the good footwork by the opposing goalkeeper, Alisson, denied the Portugese magnifico.

Soon after, Paul Pogba had a great chance, but once again Alisson stepped up. Without his first choice central defenders in front of him, the shot stopper needed to be his best. If he wasn’t man of the match for Liverpool than Thiago probably was. Take a look at the stats.

For United, the man of the match was their captain, the world’s most expensive defender, Harry Maguire. He defended Roberto Firmino perfectly, during a second half breakaway, a great chance set up by Andy Robertson.

Soon after that, he also stifled Mo Salah. United’s centre backs were the strength of the team tonight, and that sounds funny to say, given how that position has been such a black hole in recent years. The 0-0 result keeps United top of table, but their lead drops to two points as Leicester City leaped Liverpool to second in the table.

Liverpool are now undefeated in their last 67 league games at home. Their last loss came in April 2017 to Crystal Palace. The record is 86, and it belongs to Chelsea during Jose Mourinho’s time at the club. Liverpool were also held goalless in three straight league games, for the first time since 2005

As for United, it’s now 16 consecutive away league games unbeaten, a stretch that goes back to February.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of  “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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