Liverpool continued their dry spell in front of goal for the third successive game as they drew 0-0 against arch rivals Manchester United on Sunday evening.
The home-side continued their recent form that has seen them create a plethora of chances throughout the 90 minutes but have been unable to add that vital finishing touch. With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino misfiring up front it was up to the defence to make sure the Premier League champions didn’t rue their missed chances.
Jordan Henderson once again was tasked with partnering Fabinho at the back with the usual midfield duo now operating in front of Alisson Becker. With so much on the line in this fixture, it would be Liverpool’s two Brazilian internationals who would make the decisive decisions that made all the difference.
Each had relatively simple games until the final 15 minutes, but in these final moments is where the pair earned their money and praise from Reds fans. First to step up was the former AS Roma goalkeeper who was swiftly called into action in the 75th minute.
After Luke Shaw had found himself at the Liverpool by-line, he pulled back a perfectly weighted ball into the path of Bruno Fernandes. With just Allison to beat, the Portuguese international opened up to guide the ball towards the bottom right corner, only for Red’s No.1 big frame to block the effort.
The 28-year-old was called into action once again in the 83rd minute. After a cross had found Paul Pogba at the back post, the midfielder expertly brought the ball down and powerfully struck the ball goalward. Once again Alisson was up for the challenge as the five-yard effort was expertly pushed from danger.Embed from Getty Images
With Liverpool under some sustained pressure for the first time in the game, it was Fabinho’s turn to showcase his defensive ability. With Marcus Rashford sprinting towards the Anfield Road end, it quickly became a two versus two scenario. All signs pointed towards a likely United goal but Fabinho had other ideas.
The No.3 was able to keep up with the England international and usher him away from goal. His swift adjustment that he made once he had caught up with the United forward forced him wide, before dispossessing and conceding a throw in. It was a brilliant defensive piece of work which completely symbolises how well the midfielder has faired since his temporary move to the back.
Throughout the 90 minutes, Fabinho completed two tackles, made four interceptions, cleared the ball three times and blocked two shots whilst teammate Alisson Becker made four saves, two of which were extremely important.
It was the perfect showcase for the two Brazilian’s and what they bring to the Merseyside club. The makeshift centre back proved he can be world class in the back four – as well as the midfield three – whilst the goalkeeper showed it’s not just the attacking players who can win the team vital points.
The two rivals will face off once again on Sunday 24 January at Old Trafford in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Before then, Alisson and Fabinho will be targeting another clean sheet and a valuable three points as the Reds face Burnley, where the hosts will hope to end their goal drought.
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