Liverpool’s narrow system allowed space down the flanks which José Mourinho’s team exploited with regular switches of play, sapping the energy of the visitors
For the first time in the 25 seasons of the Premier League, Manchester United and Liverpool’s two league meetings both ended in a draw. This, however, was a much more exciting contest than the dreadful 0-0 in October. Jürgen Klopp sprung a tactical surprise from the outset by deploying a diamond midfield, a considerably different shape to Liverpool’s regular 4-3-3. This involved Adam Lallana playing as a No10, allowing Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi to make dangerous runs across the opposition defence from out to in.
The main outcome was Liverpool making life very difficult for Michael Carrick, who has been excellent in recent weeks. Lallana marked him excellently in the opening stages, meaning Carrick was unable to put his foot on the ball and put United in charge. It was not entirely surprising when José Mourinho substituted Carrick at half-time, introducing Wayne Rooney and switching to a 4-2-3-1 shape. Lallana’s discipline meant a holding midfielder was always unlikely to find time on the ball.
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