The match against Man United made Liverpool shiver of whether they would come out as winners or losers. Nevertheless, the reds managed to wear down United.
Nothing was working for Jurgen Klopp’s side before the break. Despite the issue, he changed the situation in the second half. This happened when he moved from their usual 4-3-3 t0 a 4-3-2-1 formation.
The idea was to nullify United’s wing-backs and pin them back. For example, Jordan Henderson came out and played wide and high on their right to occupy Ashley Young and to try to free up Trent Alexander-Arnold. So, he could get more crosses in.
It was the change of tactics that eventually paid off down the other flank when Liverpool’s left-back Andy Robertson put in the ball for Adam Lallana’s equalizer.
It had reached a point where it felt as if Liverpool were struggling to break United down. But eventually, they wore them out.
They worked them side to side and the longer they did that, the more they backed themselves to get a chance.
First, there were some tired legs from Aaron Wan Bissaka that allowed the cross to come in. He was marking Alex Oxdale-Chamberlain. But could he have got out to Robertson quicker?
Then, there was a little bit of a mix-up between Ashley-young and Marcos Rojo over who was picking up Adam Lallana.
Young had him initially but passed him over to Rojo and they ended up getting confused.
Roberto Firmino deserves credit for the way he ran past the first United center-half and dummied the cross because that caused problems for every defender behind him.
Of course, Lallana did well to get in there for the finish too. But United will still see that goal as an avoidable one especially after all the good defensive work they had done.
Despite the late disappointment, United’s 3-4-1-2 formation worked. So Solskjaer now knows they are comfortable in that shape.
As he said afterward, he has got a lot of center-backs and this is a way to use them.
This also a formation that allows Andreas-Pereira to play as an out and out number 10 which is his best position.
Pereira was not only effective on the ball, with his runs and passing forward but also his work off it. The way he was closing people down was a big part of United’s success.