Six lessons from Manchester United’s win at Liverpool

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The philosophy: Functional results through dysfunctional means

Manchester United’s draw at Newcastle proved Louis Van Gaal is struggling to balance fluid attacking play with defensive solidity, but he has at least managed to perfect the art of neither at Anfield. United’s attacking during the first half comprised of launching the ball long to an isolated Wayne Rooney or hoping to score via a set piece. Needless to say, even the most hopeless prayers are sometimes answered, and that was pretty much how they scored, while registering their only shot on target.

Adam Lallana continues to make you wonder what he does

In his last 30 Premier League games, Lallana has scored just one goal and provided four assists. Luis Suarez has scored more goals for the club since March 2014 (eight to Lallana’s five), and the Uruguayan’s last game for the club came in May of that year. And Lallana’s dribbling has been successful at a rate no better than that of Angelo Ogbonna, a defender for West Ham United.

SEE MORE: Analysis – Does Lallana add any value to Liverpool?

The truth behind the “false” of the false nine

The entirety of Liverpool’s starting XI on Sunday would rank 10th in the Premier League top scorers’ chart. Their array of attacking midfielders (well, at least they attack the opposition players) all found themselves, on occasions, the furthest man forward, and yet 40 yards from goal. With Daniel Sturridge now a full-time training room resident and only a part-time footballer, Liverpool need to look for striker options in the transfer market.

The entire Liverpool midfield wants to be Stevie G

Shooting at goal from distance isn’t bad, as long you shoot on the goal. And you don’t rank 19th in goals to shots conversion rates. Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Jordon Ibe, Emre Can, Alberto Moreno, Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner have had 80 shots from outside the penalty area between them in the league this season. Of those 80, only 15 have been on target and just one (Milner, versus Aston Villa) has actually resulted in a goal.

Van Gaal and Klopp have their own ways of celebration

Klopp is more of a leapin’ and punchin’ type, as we found out when Joe Allen netted the equalizer against Arsenal. Van Gaal, on the other hand, impassively scribbles a few words on his clipboard, with his face flushed pink like a 70 year-old grandpa, three whiskies sober, on a cold afternoon. Only Van Gaal had his chance to show his form on Sunday, but Klopp has already left his mark.

Liverpool needs taller players

Liverpool’s current fullbacks (Clyne and Moreno) aren’t even winning 33% of their aerial battles. Then you add Joe Allen (21% won), Jordon Ibe (33%), James Milner (36% at Manchester City) and Adam Lallana (30% over the past 18 months) and you’re looking at a whole collection of players who, mostly due to their height, aren’t very successful in the air. Add Simon Mignolet’s knack for letting his team down on a regular basis and you see why Liverpool are so good at letting their opponents score from set pieces. To make things worse for the Liverpool fans, someone just signed a new contract.

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One Response

  1. Ivan January 18, 2016

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