You can look at the 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Manchester United from a number of angles. Almost all of them lead to the same result: It was a disappointing football match in quality and obviously in goals. Jose Mourinho however, always about the bottom line, is probably one of the few leaving Anfield with something to be happy about.
Neutral fans were hoping to see goals, besides a tactical battle between Jurgen Klopp and Mourinho, who are very far in philosophy, personality and approach. The Midwest Derby has brought on some incredible spectacles over the years, or at least mini-violent ones with plenty of red cards and aggression. This time? Nothing much to write home about or actually remember.
Liverpool fans will be disappointed. Because of how difficult it was for the first 30 minutes to see the home team struggle to develop any kind of quick minded attack or space. To see David de Gea come up with two terrific saves in the second half off of Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho. To watch Manchester United wasting time with 15 minutes to go. To see Daniel Sturridge display every flaw in his game in a very short time, never capable of redeeming himself or shrugging his laziness off to try something different.
Manchester United fans, considering how disjointed this team continues to look like, can’t be too disappointed, maybe even happy, despite being used to the mentality of always trying to win a match in its final minutes under one specific previous manager. But the longer it’s been without Alex Ferguson, the realization dawns of how he didn’t represent the Manchester United way. He was simply himself, and the club has nothing of his DNA left in it, only the titles to be reminded of how good they were not too long ago.
Mourinho is smiling. Some managers actually want to see easy-on-the-eyes football. Mourinho doesn’t care about that. He doesn’t care that his team didn’t even get a single shot on goal during the entire match. He doesn’t care that his team continues to look far from a group that cost so much money to put together. He only cares that he didn’t lose, which might be the most pragmatic take possible, but it doesn’t seem Manchester United are getting better, or moving into some sort of direction that will help them win a championship. Remember when he won the league with Chelsea in 2014-2015? For once, he neglected the cynical approach, and it worked out quite well for him.
Liverpool managed to play their kind of football for about 15-20 minutes in the second half, which resulted in the two De Gea saves and one incredible tackle by Antonio Valencia on Roberto Firmino as he was five or six meters from a perfect one on one spot. But two many obvious 1-2’s, too much hesitation, and quite a lot of panic in the back four, contributed to their scoring failure in this match. Not the worst result in the world, butif there was anyone leaving the Anfield pitch disappointed, it had to be Liverpool players, unable to win against a team that wasn’t interested in winning.