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19th Dec 2023

‘So it’s come to this’ – Gary Lineker makes poignant point about Man United’s Anfield tactics

Lee Costello

Gary Lineker

“We’re talking about Manchester United like they’re a League Two team.”

Gary Lineker has made a poignant point about Man United’s tactics against Liverpool last Sunday, as the away side escaped Anfield with a draw.

Going into the game, top of the league Liverpool were strong favourites and many expected them to blow United away, especially when you consider how fragile they have been at the back in recent games.

However, the tactics were clear from the off that Erik ten Hag set up to not lose this game rather than win it, and they did just that by earning a point and a clean sheet, despite the home time having 69% possession and 34 shots.

“That was a damp squib, wasn’t it? There was hardly a proper chance in the game”, Lineker told The Rest is Football podcast.

“The only bit I enjoyed about the match was watching Trent’s passing.

“I got a text from a Manchester United-supporting friend of mine he said, ‘it’s come to this, the highlight of the game is watching Jonny Evans punt the ball down the touchline in the hope, the dream that Antony could maybe get on the end of it and win a throw in’.

“We’re talking about Manchester United like they’re a League Two team going to Anfield and hanging on for a draw.”

Virgil van Dijk has been criticised for saying that the game was frustrating to play in because “only one team was trying to win” something which former United captain Roy Keane took exception to.

Keane said that the Reds’ captain was being “arrogant” and reminded him that Liverpool had only “won one title in 30 years.”

However, judging by Lineker’s analysis of the match, it’s fair to say that the Match of The Day presenter is firmly on the Dutchman’s side in this debate.

Micah Richards highlights Man United positive from Liverpool draw that no one else is talking about.

Former Man City star Micah Richards was also on the podcast with Lineker, and although he agreed with his colleague about the nature of United’s tactics, he did highlight one poitive that no one else is talking about.

“We have to mention Kobbie Mainoo, though, don’t we? He’s been outstanding,” Richards said.

“The games that he’s played and away from home, big games we’re talking. He did well at Everton, I think I remember that game.

“He did well against Liverpool. Getting on the ball and just doing the basic things. Nothing too extravagant. Just doing the basics really well, tackling when he needs to, [in] the right position, obviously comfortable on the ball, but he took no risk.

“For a young player who’s what, 17, 18? To go to Anfield, yes, it wasn’t the best atmosphere for a normal if you want to call it a derby or the two biggest clubs in English football, but he had a really level mature performance again.

“And I just thought he was outstanding. I really did.”

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