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Player ratings as Dalot earns late red card in goalless draw


Liverpool and Manchester United served up a grim goalless draw at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides emerged with a point yet neither deserved anything from a historic derby that always earns top billing but offered precious little entertainment this weekend. Diogo Dalot’s stoppage-time red card came too late for Liverpool to capitalise, although, there was scant evidence to suggest that the hosts had the composure to punish United’s indiscipline.

A draw left Liverpool in second place, one point behind new leaders Arsenal while United are somehow as high as seventh.

How the game unfolded

In front of the biggest Anfield crowd since 1963, Liverpool were a furious red blur to begin the game. Yet, Manchester United managed to weather the early onslaught and the 57,000 packed into Merseyside were oddly subdued for large swathes of the first half.

Those watching on needn’t have looked towards Alisson’s goal, the first 45 minutes took place almost exclusively inside United’s half but saw the hosts fritter away their dominance with a series of mangled and misjudged decisions.

United were just as guilty of sullying the spectacle. Erik ten Hag’s side just had far fewer opportunities in possession to prove their ineptitude.

It took both sides more than three-quarters of the contest to avoid an error long enough to create a clear goalscoring chance. United were the authors of the move but Rasmus Hojlund stabbed his shot straight into Alisson’s chest. After attempting two passes over the first hour, Hojlund could be forgiven for reacquainting himself with the feel of the ball.

As this low-fi drudgery briefly threatened to gather pace, Liverpool caught United out from a quick throw-in. Luis Diaz’s shot was smothered by three visiting players but Darwin Nunez swiftly gave into the afternoon’s lethargy, bizarrely letting the ball run out of play to appeal for a non-existent foul while an open goal gaped.

Dalot epitomised the frustration of every spectator forced to sit through such dross. A needlessly forceful outburst deep into stoppage time was punished with two quick-fire yellow cards. A fitting end to a wretched match.

Liverpool FC v Manchester United - Premier League

Liverpool were knocked out of top spot in the Premier League by Arsenal ahead of kick off / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

GK: Alisson – 7/10 – After more than an hour of inaction, Alisson was alert to United’s first flicker of threat.

RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5/10 – Sauntered around the pitch but didn’t quite have his radar accurately calibrated.

CB: Ibrahima Konate – 6/10 – Eagerly snapping at the heels of any visiting player within his considerable wingspan.

CB: Virgil van Dijk – 7/10 – Imperious when called into action, muzzling any flicker of threat that came his way.

LB: Kostas Tsimikas – 6/10 – Knew what Antony was going to do each time he got the ball and managed to block most of the Brazilian’s attempts to cut inside.

CM: Dominik Szoboszlai – 3/10 – A sieve in possession, particularly in the final third of the pitch. One of the Hungarian’s worst displays in red.

CM: Wataru Endo – 6/10 – One of Endo’s sparkier performances, proactive in possession and pressed hard to win it back.

CM: Ryan Gravenberch – 5/10 – Flitted in and mainly out of the contest.

RW: Mohamed Salah – 3/10 – Unusually ragged on the ball. This fixture’s all-time top scorer scarcely looked like bolstering his record haul.

ST: Darwin Nunez – 4/10 – Limited involvement and forgot the first rule of playing to the whistle when the ball did break for him in the second half.

LW: Luis Diaz – 6/10 – Ran powerfully with the ball whenever he spotted a slither of space.

Substitutes

SUB: Cody Gakpo (61′ for Szoboszlai) – 4/10 – Bizarrely hell-bent on taking aim from anywhere on the pitch.

SUB: Joe Gomez (61′ for Gravenberch) – 5/10

SUB: Harvey Elliott (78′ for Diaz) – 5/10

SUB: Curtis Jones (78′ for Nunez) – 5/10

Subs not used: Caoimhin Kelleher (GK), Adrian (GK), Jarell Quansah, Conor Bradley, James McConnell

Manager

Jurgen Klopp – 5/10 – Cannot be accused of idly sitting back. Recognised the negative impact of his second-half formation change and shuffled his pack again. Unfortunately for the German, nothing he tried worked.

Raphael Varane

Raphael Varane was half of Man Utd’s ninth different centre-back partnership this season / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

GK: Andre Onana – 6/10 – Intent on playing a game of chicken with Liverpool’s entire frontline yet his teammates couldn’t hang onto the ball when he clipped it forward.

RB: Diogo Dalot – 2/10 – Locked in a good battle with Diaz where both players enjoyed success but ruined his performance with a needless red card.

CB: Jonny Evans – 6/10 – Took a physical approach to marking Nunez, slyly bumping the easily frazzled Uruguayan off the ball.

CB: Raphael Varane – 6/10 – Playing on his unnatural side despite Erik ten Hag’s previous reluctance, Varane was forced to use his head more often than his weaker left foot.

LB: Luke Shaw – 5/10 – Offered precious little going forward but dealt with a misfiring Salah well enough.

CM: Kobbie Mainoo – 7/10 – The youngest United player to ever start against Liverpool in the Premier League, Mainoo certainly didn’t play like a timid teenager. Constantly, taking the ball under pressure, Mainoo wasn’t faultless but he was fearless.

CM: Sofyan Amrabat – 3/10 – Overwhelmed at the base of midfield, frantically and unsuccessfully fighting against the rising tide of red shirts around him.

AM: Scott McTominay – 5/10 – United’s captain for the day, McTominay barely had any opportunity to get into Liverpool’s box and didn’t risk getting overly involved in his team’s already shaky buildup play.

RW: Antony – 6/10 – United’s brightest forward but that was a low bar. Ran at Tsimikas regularly although got around him far less often.

ST: Rasmus Hojlund – 5/10 – Spluttered into life after the break but lacked that clinical edge.

LW: Alejandro Garnacho – 4/10 – Desperately weak, too often got knocked off the ball by little more than a gust of wind.

Substitutes

SUB: Marcus Rashford (71′ for Garnacho) – 5/10

SUB: Facundo Pellistri (82′ for Antony) – N/A

SUB: Hannibal Mejbri (82′ for Mainoo) – N/A

Subs not used: Altay Bayindir (GK), Willy Kambwala, Sergio Reguilon, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Donny van de Beek, Daniel Gore

Manager

Erik ten Hag – 4/10 – Liverpool’s dramatic drop-off in quality obscured United’s own abundant failings. Up against competent opposition, Ten Hag’s side would have been more gravely punished.

Player of the match – Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)



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