Man United-Liverpool First Half Notes: Shaqiri, Lindelof, Firmino

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Yet another slow, sluggish start to a Manchester United-Liverpool game. Here we are, the England clasico is goalless at the break, and lacking in scoring opportunities. You can expect things to really open up in the second half, and whomever scores first will then be in a really dominant position for the remainder.

Speaking of dominance, Liverpool owned possession 67%-33%, shots 9-1 and shots on goal 1-0. Yet here we are a scorless stalemate. That’s got to be considered a moral victory for United. While United have done a good job stifling Liverpool’s vaunted front three, it feels like the ball has been in their half almost the entire time.

It’s like you only need the left side of the screen to watch this match. Let’s run through the highlights of the first half.

Xherdan Shaqiri, about halfway through the first half, was just wide of goal, taking a shot from just outside the box with his preferred left foot. He didn’t miss by too much, but he is now playing with a yellow card, after fouling Anthony Martial soon after that shot.

Later, Roberto Firmino was in great position, but he was very well defended by Victor Lindelof, who was able to get the block. That’s pretty much the extent of the chances for Liverpool, but it’s still more than what United had.

Tou had a Bruno Fernandes free kick, which forced Liverpool goalkeeper Alison to actually do some work for a change tonight. He really hasn’t been called upon to do a whole lot.

Here’s to hoping that things really open up in the second half, and we actually have more highlights to talk about, once the final whistle has sounded.

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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