5 Things We Learnt About Manchester United Against Liverpool

Mourinho won’t set United out to attack in big games

This shouldn’t be a gigantic shock, given that The Special One has never been a manager to take too many risks in his managerial career. But those fans wishing to see Jose Mourinho alter his thinking after he was placed in charge of a club whose identity is based around attacking would have been left disappointed after last night’s 0-0 draw at Anfield. Manchester United might have had the better of the second half, but rarely troubled Liverpool’s backline and were essentially set up to contain their hosts first, and attack later. Problem was that the latter very rarely happened, making for a frustrating evening given how well United had nullified Jurgen Klopp’s side.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic needs to up his game

Despite the Swede being United’s top scorer this season, the former Paris Saint Germain striker missed several presentable opportunities against Stoke City in United’s last league game, and offered an incredibly ineffective display at Anfield. His touch was poor, he missed countless headers and his hold-up play was way below the standard you’d expect from someone of his calibre. His missed second-half header from Paul Pogba’s cross was United’s only decent chance of the game, and if this experiment is to work, then Ibrahimovic has to provide more effort.

Ander Herrera’s emergence is great to see

It says it all that one of United’s defensive midfielders was the man of the match last night, but the Spaniard’s rise as a key figure in Mourinho’s United makes for excellent viewing. His tenacity, energy, effort and clear desire to succeed at the club makes him incredibly endearing, and having watched him fail to find a place in the side under Louis Van Gaal’s two years in charge, this change of events under the Portuguese is most welcome.

David De Gea is still fantastic

This wasn’t really ever up for debate, but United’s no.1 hasn’t had the same workload this season due to the team’s increased defensive organisation, which was enough to make some question his talent. That shouldn’t happen again soon; his right-handed save from Philippe Coutinho’s long-range effort, with the Spaniard at full-stretch was superb, as was his low save to stop Emre Can’s second half shot. De Gea may have less to do this season than he’s been used to of late, but his talent should surely never be in doubt.

Paul Pogba is still trying too hard

It makes sense; no one moves clubs for £89m and doesn’t feel pressure to live up to the price tag, but Pogba struggled last night in a more advanced role. It was arguably his least effective performance in a United shirt; his first touch was terrible, his decision-making was certainly off and his only moment of magic was the cross to set up Ibrahimovic’s header. It’s understandable that the Frenchman would be feeling the pressure, but perhaps he needs to think less about impressing and more about showing the quality that brought him back to Manchester in the first place.