Manchester United “missed an opportunity” to beat Liverpool, said boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his side stayed top of the Premier League with a goalless draw against the champions.
It was a game that failed to justify the pre-match anticipation and Solskjaer will know his side had the better chances to claim a statement victory at Anfield.
Liverpool, without a recognised centre-back and with midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho in defence, dominated possession in the first half but it was United who came closest when Bruno Fernandes’ 20-yard free-kick curled inches wide.
Fernandes was then thwarted after the break by the outstretched leg of Liverpool keeper Alisson before Thiago Alcantara’s long-range effort finally brought the previously unemployed David de Gea into action.
Alisson was Liverpool’s hero late on when he blocked Paul Pogba’s drive from point-blank range.
“It was an opportunity missed with the chances we had but then again we were playing a very good side.” Solskjaer told BBC Sport. “I’m disappointed but, still, a point is OK if you win the next one.
“We have improved and progressed. It’s not just the result we’re disappointed with, it’s some of the performance. I know these boys can play better.”
United are now two points ahead of Manchester City, who moved up to second by beating Crystal Palace 4-0, and Leicester City in third. Liverpool, who have scored just one goal in their past four league games, have dropped to fourth, a point behind the Foxes.
“The performance was good enough to win it but to win a game you have to score goals and we didn’t do that, so that’s why we had that result,” said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp.
“We try not to not score. We obviously have to ignore the fact and hope it will be good again.”