United lose at Anfield despite a spirited performance

1. This is normally one of the two fixtures that I always look forward to in a season. Liverpool home and away. This season, Liverpool away was the fixture I dreaded because of the form they are in and conscious of the fact that this United team is work in progress. We lost but at the end of the fixture, I felt proud of the team despite the late goal by Salah. Everyone could see that in patches we put them under significant pressure and the best compliment was when in the last ten minutes, the Liverpool players started wasting time. It confirms what I have stressed for long in these articles, namely that Ole is the right person to take United back to the glory days. We just have to be patient and BELIEVE.

2. The system that Ole chose for this game is the one I expected or wished. Playing with wing backs against Liverpool gives you cover against their foraging full backs and the only reason we were opened up time and again was because we did not have the right players to fill the positions adequately. Wan Bissaka is anything but a wing back, simply because he lacks quality going forward as much as he is strong in defending. In a back three, Maguire can fill the central position with ease. On his right, I need to see Wan Bissaka challenging Lindelof for that role, while on the left, we need Koulibaly, and we need him now. Shaw tried to fill that position against Liverpool but he would have to challenge Williams for the left wing back position. James has been inconsistent with his performances, mostly because Ole has still not found his best position. James has to play as wing back on the right, where his speed and endeavour can be utilised better. With this set-up, we can play against anyone even with the current crop of players, especially with Rashford and Pogba back in the team. Don’t get me wrong. There are a number of positions where players that have been mentioned can give us an upgrade. Pereira of Leicester as right wing back, Fernandes or Maddison behind the strikers, Ndidi or Soumare in the engine room, and an experienced striker up front, someone like Aubameyang or Vardy. But with Koulibaly in the team, we can beat anyone. A strong team has to have a solid foundation, which is the defence.


3. Three things are too few to mention after today’s match but I cannot not applaud the United players for the way they harassed the Liverpool ones during the whole match. At times we fell short in quality but we never laid down and continued showing up in their faces. We annoyed them and put them under pressure. There was fear in their eyes. Well done to this bunch of players for their endeavour. This was truly a United performance, if not in quality at least in grit. This is what the fans want to see, week in week out. Even if we lose, I much prefer having a go at better teams than park the bus Mourinho style. We never die. GGMU!!

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