Goalkeeper Loris Karius believes Liverpool’s growing reputation under Jurgen Klopp explains why Manchester United played so defensively against them.
The goalless draw at Anfield was memorable only for two second-half David de Gea saves as Jose Mourinho set up his side to frustrate.
Klopp’s preference for a high-tempo game, which this season has started to click into gear, never got into its stride and it was a disjointed performance as the visitors’ game-plan worked to perfection.
“They know we’re a really strong team, so that’s a compliment for us,” said the German, who kept his first clean sheet since taking over from Simon Mignolet despite a couple of shaky moments personally.
“United maybe waited for the one chance to get a goal, as obviously their priority was to stop our play, our attacks.
“We knew we had to be patient because it was going to be tough.
“Second half we managed better to get through but United defended well with De Gea making top saves.”
Post-match Mourinho suggested the onus had been on Liverpool, with 65 per cent possession, to find a breakthrough and Klopp was minded to agree.
Midfielder Emre Can, making his first Premier League start of the season, felt they deserved more than a point from the game but accepted a side of their quality has to test opponents more.
“I think we deserved to win the game because we had the better chances and played better,” he told liverpoolfc.com.
“It wasn’t our best game but we played better than Manchester United.
“We didn’t keep the ball too well. We have to do it better in the next game. We will learn.”
Can came in for Adam Lallana, arguably Liverpool’s best player this season who was only deemed fit enough for the bench after a groin problem sustained just before the international break.
The England midfielder’s appearance on the hour breathed new life into his side’s attacking drive and highlighted how much Liverpool missed him – and also Georginio Wijnaldum who was absent with a hip injury – as the midfield three had to be changed for the first time this season in a league match.
“Yes he is a good player, I’m not surprised,” said Klopp on Lallana’s impact.
“He trained for two days so maybe he could have started but nobody knew how long for but it was really close.
“He could not train for 12, 13 days but he loves football and wanted to play again.”