Liverpool Top the EPL Table After Injury-Filled Draw with Manchester United

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2019

Manchester United's English defender Luke Shaw (L) shakes hands with Manchester United's Swedish defender Victor Lindelof (R) as Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (C) looks on during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on February 24, 2019. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Liverpool moved back to the top of the Premier League on Sunday, as they drew 0-0 with Manchester United at Old Trafford. 

The first period was a fractured affair, as the Red Devils were forced into using all three of their substitutes. Ander Herrera was replaced by Andreas Pereira, then Jesse Lingard came on for Juan Mata; Lingard then went down with an issue himself, prompting the introduction of Alexis Sanchez. Roberto Firmino also limped off for Liverpool.

Unsurprisingly, neither side found their rhythm in a goalless opening 45 minutes. After the break the pattern of the game continued, with little spark in attack meaning both goalkeepers remained relatively untroubled.

The result sees Liverpool move a point ahead of Manchester City, who are in action in the Carabao Cup final against Chelsea.

    

Injury Crisis Will Test Solskjaer's Management Skills

Given he was only appointed in December, there's still a lot to learn about Solskjaer as a manager. With the injury issues mounting up, he will be tested in the coming weeks.

Not only did Herrera, Mata and Lingard hobble out of the game, the Red Devils were also without Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic because of fitness issues. During the clash, forward Marcus Rashford was also clearly in some discomfort.

Having found a style early in his managerial tenure, Solskjaer will now have to conjure up a different way of getting results.

Football journalist and author Tom Williams thinks this will be a good way for the coach to show off his credentials:

After a fine start to life in the Old Trafford hotseat, talk has started to intensify regarding Solskjaer being handed the job at United on a full-time basis, having been only initially appointed until the end of the campaign.

If Solskjaer can keep United in the hunt for the top four and the FA Cup with the treatment room so packed, surely the club's hierarchy will have no choice but to make him the permanent boss.

    

Klopp Should Put Faith in Keita During Title Run-In

Liverpool were able to capitalise on the injury issues United were having in midfield and had possession of the ball for long spells in the game. However, there was little invention coming from this facet of the team.

Fabinho was impressive and composed in front of the back four, although further ahead Georginio Wijnaldum and captain Jordan Henderson did little to impact the game from an attacking perspective.

At half-time, football journalist Leanne Prescott was calling on Klopp to introduce some impetus to this area of the pitch in the form of Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri:

Although Keita has endured a disappointing first season at Liverpool overall, there have been small signs in recent weeks that he is beginning to find his feet, especially in the clash with Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

There are some huge games for Liverpool to come between now and the end of the season, both domestically and in Europe. The time feels right for Klopp to give the Guinea international a run in the side and avoid further toothless midfield displays.

   

What's next?

Liverpool will be up against Watford in the Premier League at Anfield on Wednesday. On the same night and in the same competition, the Red Devils will travel to an in-form Crystal Palace side.

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