Liverpool will feel they should have taken all three points from a game in which their understrength team gave absolutely everything, only to succumb to a late equaliser. Manager Jurgen Klopp's side had enough chances to win the game, but eventually Manchester United's more direct approach paid off late on in a 1-1 draw Sunday.
The main thing for Liverpool was to not lose the game, and they achieved that. United are five points behind the Reds, so a Liverpool loss would have seen United breathing right down the necks of the Merseysiders. Sunday's draw maintains that five-point cushion, and the performance should provide Liverpool with a confidence boost after some recent wobbles.
Having led for so long, there will be an inevitable sense of disappointment in the Liverpool camp that they couldn't see it through. Had they made more of numerous counterattacking opportunities in the second half, however, a United goal would have been immaterial. That's the biggest disappointment, that they were not more clinical.
Manager rating out of 10
8 -- Klopp made a tactical change and switched to a midfield diamond. That worked well initially, and when it needed changing in the second half, the German manager wasn't slow to act, bringing on Philippe Coutinho and switching back to his usual 4-3-3 system. Many expected Liverpool to lose this game, but Klopp didn't, and all week he did a great job of giving off an air of confidence, which clearly translated to his team.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Simon Mignolet, 8 -- Made a fine stop from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic free kick and then an even better one to deny Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Not called into action as much after the break but still made another great save from Wayne Rooney. The United captain was offside anyway, but Mignolet didn't know that at the time. Assured under the high ball and sound with his kicking, this was another commanding display from the in-form Belgian.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 -- Drafted into the team for his first Premier League start after Nathaniel Clyne was ruled out with injury, the teenager struggled in the early stages against Anthony Martial, but grew into the game by keeping things simple and rarely venturing forward. Made several good interventions in the second half and eventually saw off Martial, who was substituted after fading out of the game completely.
DF Dejan Lovren, 8 -- A terrific display from the Croatian international, who was outstanding from beginning to end. His performance was all the more impressive given he had no margin for error after being given a ridiculous first-half booking for what was a good tackle.
DF Ragnar Klavan, 7 -- One or two wobbles in the first half that allowed United to get in on goal, but the experienced Estonian overcame that and was solid enough after the break.
DF James Milner, 7 -- Had his hands full with the marauding Antonio Valencia but stuck to his task well and showed the kind of cool head that's needed in fixtures such as this, not least when he converted a first-half penalty kick to make it 6-for-6 from the spot this season.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 -- The captain was back from injury and showed just what the team has been missing in his absence. Positionally excellent throughout, he showed a good range of passing, and Liverpool will be much better off with him back in the side.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 -- Would have graded much higher had he not squandered two great chances to win the game in the second half. The Dutchman's performance was excellent overall as he covered every blade of grass and was still making lung-busting runs deep into stoppage time.
MF Emre Can, 6 -- Worked hard, put himself about and created the two chances that Wijnaldum didn't take. An improved effort from Can, as he's been struggling of late.
MF Adam Lallana, 6 -- Diligent and disciplined rather than dazzling. Kept possession well and did a lot of good work helping out in defence, particularly in the second half when he gave good protection to his young right-back.
FW Divock Origi, 4 -- This was a game that was perfectly set up for the Belgian to shine, but he failed to deliver despite making a promising start. Seemed reluctant to use his pace and strength to take the fight to the United defence even when he was isolated out wide against Phil Jones. The last thing you want to do in a game in which you have the lead and are looking to hit on the break is withdraw your quickest attacker, but Klopp had no choice due to Origi's ineffectiveness and inability to keep the ball, especially in the second period.
FW Roberto Firmino, 7 -- Not his most productive game, but pressed the United defenders all day and didn't give them a minute to settle on the ball. He showed composure to keep the ball better than most of his teammates, but should have done better with a late opportunity that he put straight at United keeper David De Gea.
FW Philippe Coutinho, 8 -- Liverpool were struggling just prior to the Brazilian's arrival. They couldn't keep the ball or get out of their own half. All that changed from the moment he stepped onto the field, as Liverpool suddenly looked threatening with every attack. Had he been fit enough to start, this would have been a different game.