Football Features

Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd: Player ratings as Varane marshals defensive masterclass

By Squawka News

Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd: Player ratings as Varane marshalls defensive masterclass

Published: 18:35, 17 December 2023

Liverpool missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League table as they played out a 0-0 draw with fierce rivals Manchester United. 

So often a blood and thunder affair, this match simmered rather than sparked, with only a few flare-ups and serious sights at goal. Trent Alexander-Arnold came closest for the hosts, with his powerful effort from outside the box curling just wide of the near post. For United, Rasmus Hojlund had the best opening, breaking behind the Liverpool defence but only firing straight at Alisson.


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There was time for a bizarre late red card for Diogo Dalot for two back-to-back yellow cards for dissent against referee Michael Oliver, but no goals were forthcoming.

Here are the full player ratings from Sunday’s encounter at Anfield:

Liverpool

Alisson – 7 – Only called into action a couple of times but stood up to the test when required.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 – By far Liverpool’s brightest spark, coming close with a few efforts from distance and creating four chances. Always looked to make something happen.

Ibrahima Konate – 6 – Saw a lot of the ball but was too pedestrian and laid back. Missed a free header from a corner in the first half, and fired a shot straight at Onana in the second after some nifty footwork.

Virgil van Dijk – 6 – Like Konate, was too slow in possession. Tested Onana with a header from a corner.

Kostas Tsimikas – 7 – Pushed forward well on the left to create a couple of decent chances. Tested by Antony a little more as the game wore on.

Dominik Szoboszlai – 4 – Poor by his lofty standards. Sloppy with his passing and never took advantage of his physical superiority over the United midfield.

Wataru Endo – 6 – A very Jekyll and Hyde performance, knitting together possession and making big challenges one moment before needlessly giving the ball away the next.

Ryan Gravenberch – 7 – Created a couple of openings and looked about as bright as anyone before being forced off on the hour with an injury.

Mohamed Salah – 7 – Cut a very frustrated figure at times, often resorting to speculative shots from distance. But was still one of Liverpool’s brightest creative sparks.

Darwin Nunez – 5 – Occasionally dangerous, but far more often frustrating on this occasion.

Luis Diaz – 7 – Went under the radar with a few decent creative moments. Was denied by a great block from Amrabat deep into the second half.

Substitutes:

Joe Gomez (for Szoboszlai, 61′) – 7 – Had a couple of decent moments and allowed Alexander-Arnold to affect the game further forward.

Cody Gakpo (for Gravenberch, 61′) – 5 – Got into some good positions but lacked composure.

Curtis Jones (for Diaz, 78′) – 5 – Never got into the game.

Harvey Elliott (for Nunez, 78′) – 6 – One shot from distance but didn’t get going otherwise.

Manchester United

Andre Onana – 8 – For all his terrifying moments with the ball at his feet, Onana kept his cool and pulled off a few very important saves to earn his side a point.

Diogo Dalot – 5 – Struggled at times on the ball but held up well defensively. Incredibly sent off at the end for back-to-back yellow cards for dissent. Arguably harsh considering the throw-in decision had gone wrongly against him.

Jonny Evans – 8 – Certainly didn’t feel like a 35-year-old defender marking someone with the physical prowess of Nunez. Handled the Liverpool front line very well.

Raphael Varane – 9 – Marshalled the Man Utd defence superbly. Made a match-high 15 clearances, alongside three interceptions two recoveries, two blocks, and four out of four aerial duels won.

Luke Shaw – 7 – Coped very well with Salah for the most part despite his position perhaps being one Jurgen Klopp may have felt he could target. Booked for wiping out Konate late on.

Kobbie Mainoo – 7 – Got through plenty of defensive work and did extremely well to hold his discipline considering he picked up a harsh yellow card in the first half.

Sofyan Amrabat – 4 – Did well not to get sent off after picking up a booking but that’s really about the only credit you can give Amrabat. Too slow, both with and without the ball.

Scott McTominay – 8 – Given the armband by Erik ten Hag and rose to the occasion with a brilliantly combative performance. While Varane held down the backline, McTominay organised from the front.

Antony – 7 – Put in a good shift and enjoyed a very bright 10-minute spell in the second half where he got behind Liverpool on the break.

Rasmus Hojlund – 5 – Fired straight at Alisson in his one big moment. Otherwise very isolated.

Alejandro Garnacho – 5 – Had a few ‘nearly’ moments but was largely kept quiet.

Substitutes: 

Marcus Rashford (for Garnacho, 71) – 6 – Didn’t do much to change the game.

Facundo Pellistri (for Mainoo, 82′) – 5 – Never got going.

Hannibal (for Antony, 82′) – 5 – As above.

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