What probably should have been the season-defining, electrifying, nail-biting game of the year limped its way through 90 minutes with barely a whimper as Liverpool and United left Old Trafford with the points shared on Sunday.
Liverpool had a very early opportunity to the take the lead via a close-range indirect freekick when David De Gea was adjudged to have handled Ashley Young’s backpass, but Milner was unable to convert from 10-yards out.
Injury laden mayhem would ensue. Manchester United’s dynamic midfield Ander Herrera was the first to fall to a hamstring issue before compatriot Juan Mata hobbled off with a hip problem within the first 25-minutes. Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard were the chosen replacements to help form a makeshift midfield already consisting of Scott McTominay, who himself had stepped in for the recently declared unfit Nemanja Matic.
The madness didn’t end there: Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino was the next man to fall shortly followed by substitute Lingard, whose return to football was clearly far too premature following a problem he picked up earlier in the month.
Manchester United came out the stronger of the two teams after the break and were denied on a couple of occasions following some well-worked freekicks, one of which was put into the back of the net by Joel Matip only for Chris Smalling to be ruled offside.
The big centre-back had a chance to secure the game at the end but just couldn’t stretch far enough to finish from six-yards out.
Luke Shaw was the deserved Man of the Match for his valiant efforts, but we think Andreas Pereira deserves credit for his performance.
As a replacement for one of United key men, it was never going to be an easy day for the Brazilian, but he did what was asked of him well in the absence of his influential teammates and played with serious grit and determination.
Aggressive in his defensive work and relatively cool on the ball, he celebrated every tackle like it was a goal and was clearly revved up for the occasion.
He hasn’t had enough chances this season, and to be honest, he’s looked poor on more than a few occasions thus far.
However, he stepped up against the Reds, and if he continues to perform like that, he surely won’t be far from a run in the Man Utd first team.
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