Manchester United and Liverpool are challenging each other for the Premier League. Manchester City and others are involved, too, but as these historic rivals faced off, they cancelled each other out.

A 0-0 draw was a fair result. United’s best players include three defenders and that’s telling about where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side truly played well.

Luke Shaw

Graeme Souness was highly-praiseworthy of Shaw’s performance; the best he’s seen someone mark Salah, he said on Sky Sports. Shaw was fantastic at Anfield. It’s another fine performance from the Englishman who continues to solidify his position as Manchester United’s first-choice left-back.

This was one of his very performances in a United shirt. It’s not just pleasing as a fan of the club because it helps the team perform better, but it’s pleasing because Shaw has had a tough time. His first injury at United was a horrible one. It’s taken him a long time to recover properly. This is him at his best.

He made more touches than any other United player, more ball recoveries than his teammates, was fouled more than any other visiting player and created one of United’s two best chances of the game when he pulled it back to Bruno Fernandes.

It shows how important it is to have competition in every position at the club. Shaw’s best form has come since Alex Telles was signed. The same should happen at right-back.

Paul Pogba

He missed a golden opportunity. It would have allowed many of Pogba’s past mistakes instantly forgettable. A winning goal at Anfield. Alisson made a good save but Pogba hit it straight at him.

 

Forgetting that chance, Pogba was good. He played in a position that permitted him to be less disciplined than McTominay or Fred had to be. He played in a position that allowed him to create chances, and he did.

“Paul was absolutely brilliant today,” Solskjaer said, crediting his defensive work against Andy Robertson as well as his attacking play. It’s true. Though Pogba didn’t have to be as disciplined as he would have been in central midfield, he worked hard. Long may it continue.

Harry Maguire (and Lindelof)

It was a typical Maguire performance; strong in the air, blocking plenty of shots and some decent passes out of the back.

Credit should go to Maguire and Lindelof, to be fair. Maguire blocked more shots (5) than any other player on the pitch and made more headed clearances too (4). Lindelof’s stuck-out leg in the second half not only stopped a fantastic chance for Liverpool but initiated a United counter-attack as well.

Manchester United's English defender Harry Maguire (C) jumps to head the ball as Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (L) closes in during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 17, 2021. (Photo by Michael Regan / POOL / 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 by MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Many wanted to see a Maguire-Bailly partnership. But Lindelof stepped back into the starting XI and impressed. He won all his aerial duels – which is not a given with the Swede – and made 10 clearances.

Lindelof has one passing difference to Bailly. He’s better at finding those clipped through balls over the opposition defence. Bailly is better at stepping out of defence, but Lindelof can play those balls and that’s why he started: to try and find Rashford on the counter. It didn’t quite happen, but he was great defensively.

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