Five things learnt about Liverpool in Manchester United stalemate

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp

Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Manchester United on an uneventful night at Anfield.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp

Liverpool were hold to a goalless draw by Manchester United at Anfield as the two great rivals cancelled each other out in a highly anticipated clash at Anfield.

Chances were few and far between as the result leaves Liverpool in fourth place in the Premier League - two points off the pace setters with their opponents three points further back.

It was not one for the entertainers but one that had plenty of battles all over the field. Liverpool had to adapt to making two changes to their starting XI that won against Swansea City prior to the international break with Daniel Sturridge and Emre Can coming in for Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum.

It is hard to suggest what there is to learn following that game given there were few chances, although it did take a couple of fine saves from David de Gea in the second half to prevent the home side from breaking the deadlock as efforts from Can and Philippe Coutinho were denied. 

Here are a five things to point out: 

Midfield is a tricky balancing act

Manchester United's Ashley Young in action with Liverpool's Emre Can

There wasn't that usual trickery, movement and impetus in the middle of the park from Liverpool last night - though it improved a little with the introduction of Adam Lallana. Emre Can was given his first start to the season and started in a more advanced role than he played for much of last season and looked a little off the pace. If everyone isn't up to speed in that part of the field - with runners getting beyond the defensive line.

That wasn't happening last night, and in the early stages of the game it allowed United to take control of proceedings. Jürgen Klopp may have to look at his particular dynamic if his preferred trio aren't available. 

Sturridge needs to show more after chance of leading the line - though it may have been partly down to United's set-up

Having an out and out striker as part of the Liverpool front three certainly seemed to help United when it came to their set-up. If you look at the time when Sturridge was on the field and the very brief time Divock Origi featured. There were times when Liverpool started to open United up a bit more when the movement of the front three was dropping deeper. Klopp actually showed sympathy for Sturridge after the game, but when not a lot is happening for you, you need to go looking for the work a lot more. It's surprising really, as he is a forward that isn't shy of dropping deeper.

Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge in action with Manchester United's Eric Bailly

A little more patience and a little less panic

Liverpool actually got better at this aspect of the game as it progressed. In the early stages of the game they appeared to be on edge - the manager included as he prowled his technical area furiously during the opening exchanges. Again, this was another feature of Klopp's post-match thoughts. When Liverpool were just concentrating on finding red shirts and feeling their way into the game they fared better.

Structurally, Liverpool are defensively sound, even if there is room improvement

Even in a spell when they faced a fair bit of pressure from the visitors - mostly the opening exchanges - Liverpool didn't really give their opponents a sniff. There was one moment when Zlatan Ibrahimovic ought to have hit the target after Paul Pogba's cross in the second half. Despite the little stages of panic - and there are still one or two teething problems with Loris Karius in goal - Liverpool's line looked solid, they dealt with the aerial threat pretty well and in the end were unscathed for the first time in the Premier League this season.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp with Loris Karius at the end of the match

There's still some way for this side to go

It isn't the first time Liverpool are going to face blunt opposition - one fancies that West Brom are going to arrive with a similar game plan at the weekend. They are going to sit in, be strong defensively and hope to nick a goal - this is something that Liverpool are going to have to deal with. Klopp will hope his side raise their game for the visit of the Baggies and get back to winning ways in order to maintain their momentum.

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