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Dublin: 10°C Thursday 25 February 2021
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Liverpool 0-0 Man United

Hello, and welcome to today’s liveblog.

At the start of the campaign, not many people would have predicted Man United being top of the table and three points ahead of Liverpool at the season’s halfway point, but that’s how it stands at present.

Both sides’ form has been inconsistent amid a chaotic campaign. With that in mind, it’s a very difficult game to predict, though Liverpool, as the far more successful of the two sides in recent years, will consider themselves slight favourites.

A win would see the Reds go level with their arch rivals, while a victory for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men would be a real statement of intent and open up a four-point gap between themselves and Leicester City in second.

Confirmation of today’s teams…

Confirmation of the teams below…

liverpool-v-manchester-united-premier-league-anfield Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp puts on his mask before the Premier League match at Anfield. Source: PA

Some pre-match reading for you…

We’re underway…

Liverpool find themselves in a promising position early on.

Robertson receives it inside the area, but scuffs his cross into the side netting.

Interestingly for United, Rashford has started in the centre forward role, while Martial is out wide.

It’s been a scrappy and quite cagey start to this game.

Neither side has really threatened so far, but Liverpool have mainly been on the front foot.

According to Sky, Liverpool have had 71% of possession so far.

United have looked solid defensively though, and are content to play on the counter-attack.

As I type, Firmino’s shot deflects into the path of Robertson, but the full-back can’t get a proper connection, and his effort goes well off target.

Mane lays the ball off to Firmino on the edge of the area, but the Brazilian’s side-footed shot goes wide.

Liverpool are well on top in this game now, with Thiago key in controlling the play from midfield.

Shaqiri’s shot from the edge of the area deflects wide.

Liverpool are really knocking on the door at the moment.

As I type, Salah volleys another attempt wide after Pogba gave it away cheaply.

More panicky United defending.

Maguire’s attempted clearance is blocked, before Shaqiri curls an effort wide.

United certainly aren’t playing this game with the normal confidence you would expect from a side that are top of the table.

The visitors have been very cautious, with Liverpool looking increasingly dominant without finding a way past them.

liverpool-v-manchester-united-premier-league-anfield Manchester United's Marcus Rashford (right) tries to round Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson before the whistle blows for a foul. Source: PA

Shaw finds himself running towards goal on the edge of the area, before Shaqiri trips him cynically and is booked as a result.

Fernandes’ subsequent free kick is curled inches wide.

United have been better in the last five minutes.

Liverpool counter with Salah running menacingly towards goal.

It then breaks for Firmino, whose first-time effort from inside the area is tame and straight at De Gea.

According to Sky, that’s the first shot on target.

Pogba plays a clever lofted through pass for Rashford, but the officials deem the attacker to be marginally offside.

Alisson would have got there before him, but that’s a future potential area of joy for the Red Devils, given how tight a call that was and the considerable space Rashford was afforded to run into.

Half-time, and it’s been a little underwhelming so far.

It’s no surprise really — since the hammering by Spurs, United have been quite cautious in big games, drawing 0-0 with Chelsea, losing 1-0 to Arsenal and drawing 0-0 against Man City.

A similar pattern has unfolded this afternoon. Liverpool have been unable to make their dominance in terms of possession and territory count.

The hosts have had a couple of half-chances, but their opponents have generally dealt well with their threat.

United have played on the counter-attack, and Bruno Fernandes went close with a free kick just off target, but for the most part, Solskjaer’s side have offered little in attack.

The second half has begun…

Mane breaks free on the left-hand side of the box, but his cross is blocked by McTominay.

Liverpool continue to dominate, but they’re still rarely testing De Gea.

The United area is routinely tight and congested, with Reds attackers struggling to find much space.

Martial plays through Fernandes, but Fabinho intervenes with a well-timed last-ditch challenge.

United are doing far less attacking, but they look more threatening than Liverpool on the rare occasions they get forward.

Robertson puts in a dangerous low cross from the left.

However, Maguire just does enough to prevent Firmino getting a clear attempt on goal, and it’s diverted out of play for a goal kick.

Meanwhile, United make an attacking change, with Cavani on for Martial.

Another half-chance for Liverpool.

After sloppy play from Luke Shaw in the build up, Salah fires just wide, amid an abundance of bodies in the area, from close range.

A Fernandes attempt from distance is straight at Alisson, in what is United’s first attempt on target.

The Portuguese star has had a quiet game, though he is the type of player capable of producing a match-winning moment at any point.

Fernandes finds Pogba from a corner, but the Frenchman’s header is straight at Alisson.

As we enter the final 20 minutes, this game looks increasingly like it could finish scoreless.

United have calmed the early Liverpool storm in recent minutes.

Big chance! Luke Shaw crosses low for Fernandes, whose first-time finish from close range is saved via the leg of Alisson.

That’s probably United’s best chance so far.

Meanwhile, Liverpool make a change, with Shaqiri replaced by Curtis Jones.

Thiago escapes the attentions of Fred, before his powerful shot is parried away by De Gea.

The former Bayern Munich man has been a joy to watch at times today, though his influenced has waned to a degree in the second half, having controlled the play in the opening stages.

Big chance for United on the counter attack!

Rashford sprints through, but Fabinho does really well to get back and block his passage towards goal.

The England international had decent options either side of him and might have been better off passing.

Moments later, Pogba gets on the end of a Wan-Bissaka cross, but his powerful shot is saved by Alisson.

Having been largely second best, United are finishing this game the stronger-looking of the two teams.

Meanwhile, Liverpool make another change, with Firmino replaced by Origi.

More changes as we approach the finish.

Mason Greenwood replaces Bruno Fernandes for United, and for Liverpool, James Milner is on for Wijnaldum.

There will be three minutes of stoppage time…

So that’s that. On reflection, a draw is probably a fair result.

Liverpool dominated possession and territory, though they didn’t do enough to test De Gea, with decision making at crucial moments in the final third letting them down.

United, meanwhile, defended well and for all the pressure they soaked up, the visitors probably had the two best chances of the second half through Pogba and Fernandes.

Ole Gunnar Soskjaer’s side remain top of the table, with Liverpool three points behind them. Man City could leapfrog the Reds with a win later.

liverpool-v-manchester-united-premier-league-anfield Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (2nd right) and Manchester United's Paul Pogba embrace after the Premier League match. Source: PA

Right, that’s all from me for now.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

You can read our match report here, and we’ll have more reaction to follow.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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