A side that had won just twice in their last 13 Premier League games vs a side that had won their last 17 Premier League games.
But we all know that football isn’t played on paper.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changed his formation to 3-4-3 for the clash - which transformed to a 5-3-2 in defensive situations - and managed to neutralise Liverpool’s threat.
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Well, YouTuber Nouman has brilliantly explained in his tactical analysis video.
Nouman points out how United used a similar approach that Arsenal operated against Liverpool earlier this season - but far more effectively.
When attacking, Liverpool’s front-three play narrow allowing full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson to provide the width.
That leaves just Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip at the back.
Arsenal exploited that on a couple of occasions with Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s pace causing problems.
However, in that match, Arsenal played a diamond 4-4-2 meaning they had no wingers - or wing-backs - to cover Alexander-Arnold or Robertson.
With United playing a back five, wing-backs Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Ashley Young could cover Liverpool’s attacking full-backs.
Whenever the home side won back possession, they could release James and Rashford - who were playing as split strikers - and often found themselves in a 2 vs 2 situations with Van Dijk and Matip.
And that’s how United scored their goal.
Jurgen Klopp needed to do something at half-time and he did just that.
He changed Liverpool’s formation to 4-2-4 with Gini Wijnaldum and Fabinho in a double pivot in midfield. Divock Origi and Jordan Henderson played on the left and right wing respectively, with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino operating centrally.
It was now four vs five when Liverpool attacked but, when Alexander-Arnold and Robertson pushed forward, it created an overload and a six vs five in Liverpool’s favour.
This is how they equalised with Robertson being left free to cross the ball for Adam Lallana to score.
Nouman describes it as the ‘best tactical battle of the season’ and he’s right.
Solskjaer did brilliantly to come up with a plan to initially stop Liverpool.
But Klopp’s in-game management helped his side leave Old Trafford with a point.News Now - Sport News