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Gary Neville: This is what Manchester United lacked against Liverpool

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United full-back Gary Neville believes Jose Mourinho‘s side lacked the capacity to launch effective counter-attacks during the 0-0 draw with Liverpool on Monday night.

The visitors surprised many by beginning on the front foot at Anfield, forcing Liverpool into their own half throughout the opening stages.

However, as Liverpool grew into the game later on, Mourinho’s men couldn’t sustain the same level of pressure and failed to pose a threat on the break.

Speaking on Sky Sports after the game, Neville highlighted Man United’s inability to hit Jurgen Klopp’s side on the counter.

“I think the one thing United lacked tonight, particularly in the second half when they were defending deep – and I have to say that coming here over the years, that is not unusual to be pushed back towards the Kop and defending deep – however the counterattack,” he said. 

“That is what this United team lacked, a real solution to break free, and obviously it is not going to come from the central striker Ibrahimovic.

“It was set up for a classic counterattack away from home and they never provided it at all. No [Anthony] Martial through injury and no Rashford as a central striker, which would have provided it.”

Games played at such a ferocious tempo usually go one of two ways: either the contest becomes stretched during the latter stages, normally as a result of tired legs, which in turn leads to counter-attacking opportunities for both sides; the other outcome, however, is what we saw last night – two sides frantically chasing after the ball, with neither able to produce any quality.

The availability of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial could have seen Mourinho’s side launch a late assault, but the affair ultimately descended into scrappy dysfunction as injury time approached.

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