De Gea defiant as Man Utd stifles Liverpool

Liverpool came closest to winning, Man Utd goalkeeper David de Gea thwarting Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic spurned the visitor's best chance with a weak header.

James Milner of Liverpool is challenged by Marcus Rashford of Manchester United at Anfield.   -  Getty Images

Arch rivals Liverpool and Manchester United failed to spark as England's two most successful clubs played out a forgettable 0-0 draw in the Premier League on Monday.

Victory would have lifted Jurgen Klopp's in-form Liverpool level with leader Manchester City and Arsenal, but it remains fourth after seeing a five-game winning streak come to an end at Anfield.

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Liverpool came closest to winning, United goalkeeper David de Gea thwarting Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic spurned the visitor's best chance with a weak header.

READ: >Herrera hails United fight despite disappointing draw

Klopp could console himself with a first clean sheet in 10 league games, but it was the first time his side had failed to score at home in the league since a 1-0 loss to United exactly 10 months previously. Jose Mourinho's United remains seventh and has won only one of its last five league games, although this was a display much more in keeping with the defensive rigorousness its manager demands.

It was the first night game in front of Anfield's rebuilt Main Stand and Mourinho unveiled a new formula for the occasion, fielding Paul Pogba in an advanced role behind Ibrahimovic. Liverpool was without the injured Georginio Wijnaldum and with Adam Lallana only fit enough for the bench, there was a sluggishness to its play in the early stages that United looked to exploit.

ALSO READ: >Mourinho disputes possession stat

The visitor had four attempts on goal before Liverpool mustered one, home goalkeeper Loris Karius gathering deflected shots by Ibrahimovic and Marouane Fellaini and pushing away a Marcus Rashford cross.

> Klopp: 'Liverpool lost patience too early'

Rashford and fellow winger Ashley Young dropped deep in United's defensive phase and Liverpool was reduced to one sight of goal in the first half, De Gea catching Roberto Firmino's back-post header.

Referee Anthony Taylor, who attracted attention in the build-up due to the fact he hails from Altrincham in Greater Manchester, kept his cards in his pocket despite several late challenges. But his patience ran out when United centre-back Eric Bailly caught Daniel Sturridge and Young was then booked for dissent after Jordan Henderson escaped censure for a foul on Ander Herrera.

Pogba created a glorious chance for Ibrahimovic early in the second half with a deep cross from the right, but the Swede totally misjudged his header and the ball bounced harmlessly square. At the other end, De Gea got down smartly to thwart Can, who had neatly sidestepped Chris Smalling, and also produced a flying full-stretch save to touch Coutinho's 25-yard curler wide.

Lallana's introduction for the anonymous Sturridge just before the hour enlivened Liverpool and Mourinho responded by sending on Wayne Rooney for Rashford.

Lallana's clever flick freed Firmino for a late chance, but the Brazilian was denied by an impeccably timed sliding tackle from Antonio Valencia.

Key Opta stats:

- This is only the second time in Premier League history a meeting between these sides has finished 0-0 (September 2005).
- Manchester United had just 35 per cent possession versus Liverpool, its lowest total in a Premier League match since Opta began recording this data in 2003-04.
- This is Jose Mourinho's lowest points total after his first eight league games with a new club since his stint with Uniao de Leiria (10 points).
- Indeed, Manchester United had two more points at this stage last season under Louis van Gaal (16) than it has this season (14).
- The Reds have only failed to score in two of their 18 home Premier League games under Jurgen Klopp, though both of those have been against Manchester United.
- After scoring with four of his first 15 shots in the Premier League, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has failed to find the net with any of his last 26 in the competition.

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