Football: Klopp rues missed opportunity as Liverpool settle for United draw

Manchester United's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez (left) chases Liverpool's English midfielder James Milner during the EPL match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on Feb 24, 2019.
Manchester United's Chilean striker Alexis Sanchez (left) chases Liverpool's English midfielder James Milner during the EPL match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on Feb 24, 2019. PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER (AFP) – Jurgen Klopp admitted Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at injury-hit Manchester United felt like a missed opportunity. 

Klopp’s side moved one point clear at the top of the Premier League after their stalemate at Old Trafford on Sunday (Feb 24).

But it was a frustrating afternoon for Liverpool, who wasted a chance to go three points above title rivals Manchester City.  The Reds managed only one shot on target and Klopp felt their erratic display was largely due to the number of injuries suffered by both teams. 

Liverpool lost Roberto Firmino to a first half injury, while United saw Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard limp off before the interval. 

“It was a strange game. We started really well, exactly like we wanted. Then the injury crisis started and that obviously cost us the rhythm. It was like ‘what’s going on’,” Klopp said. 

“In the end we have to admit United played with a completely new midfield and strikers. We lost our rhythm and couldn’t get it back. 

“It was a game without a lot of highlights. It was an intense situation. It was a point United wanted and we lost two. 

“Some days United are beatable. You have to do it and we didn’t do it.”

Liverpool’s second successive goalless draw came at the end of a week in which they failed to break down Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16 first leg.  None of Liverpool’s attacking stars shone against United, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane both quiet. 

Klopp conceded Liverpool had lacked composure at critical moments and he called on them to bounce back against Watford in midweek. 

“I’m not here to be frustrated. I always take what I get from the boys. It doesn’t feel world-class in the moment. That’s OK,” Klopp said. 

“We didn’t play a lot of wonderful balls in the final third. The build-up from deep was OK, but then you need to be more flexible. 

“You need to keep the ball in the right areas, to shoot. We didn’t do it often enough. 

“It is a point gained because we have one more than before but it doesn’t feel like that. Now Wednesday is our next game.”

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was impressed with the way his players kept Liverpool at bay despite so many injuries. 

“Everything that could have gone wrong in the first half went wrong. We had four injuries – we had to keep Marcus Rashford on – it seemed like it was going to be a tough afternoon,” he said. 

“I can’t remember Liverpool having a chance. Even though they had possession, I can’t remember David de Gea making a save.”