Talking Numbers: A Deeper Look Into Man United’s Anfield Draw

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Manchester United went to Anfield, got a well deserved point against the champions and still slightly left the game unsatisfied. That shows how far the Red Devils have come in the past two months and how well prepared they were for the game. Sure, the 0-0 draw against Liverpool should not bring too ecstatic response from the fans, celebrating it as a win, but it should though be a good achievement, considering Jurgen Klopp’s side has failed to score at home for the first time in over two years.

It was a performance the Devils can continue to build on, as they keep their top spot in the standings. The season is still not that old, most teams are not even at the halfway point of the campaign and 20 more matches are there to be played. Nevertheless, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side is coming to a stretch of matches that will see them play against sides where they will be expected to constantly pick up points. It will be interesting how they will respond to that.

After all of that, it is time for us to take a closer look into Man United’s draw through the numbers and underlying metrics.


Liverpool Create More

In a match that ends 0-0, it is always interesting to see which side was actually closer to getting all three points. The feeling late during the game was that United maybe had Liverpool for the taking, but in reality, overall, Liverpool were the side that created more. Their expected goals of 1.5 show United did very well to not concede, while Man United themselves created 0.9 worth of chances.

However, it is clear United’s chances were of higher quality. Liverpool made 16 shots and therefore their xG per shot is around 0.09, while United’s eight shots mean their xG per shot is at 0.11. That might seem like it is not a great difference, but during the game, the feeling really was that United were creating chances of a higher quality. The numbers show that as well.

Martial Dribbles His Way Forward

Manchester United needed to count on individiual moves against Liverpool, especially considering how well Klopp’s side presses oppositions. Breaking that press often needs certain players to beat the press and Anthony Martial was doing that very well. The Frenchman made seven attempts to dribble opposition players, getting past them on six occasions, further moving the ball forward and closer to Alisson’s goal. Sadio Mane, on the other hand, made seven attempts as well, but had only three successful dribbles playing on the flank where Aaron Wan-Bissaka had the job to stop him.

Numbers Show How Shaw Stopped Salah

But another Liverpool player was stopped and he played on the other flank. That was Mohamed Salah. We wrote yesterday about the fact that Luke Shaw played a brilliant game and that he stopped the Egyptian star in a way many have not expected. But let’s see the numbers and what they say about Salah’s limited performance.

Salah made just one low quality shot which did not go on target. He copleted just 66.7 per cent of his passes and managed to create two chances, none of which were of really high quality. His 15 pressures yielded just two successful actions and he made just one successful dribbles from two attempts. He also made two fouls, while United players needed to foul him just one during the 90 minutes…

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