Well, that is how Sky Sports referred to it and built it up – Red Monday. As Monday’s go it wasn’t a bad one but coming back from Anfield with three points in the bag would have made it an even better one. It wasn’t to be though and the 0-0 draw was probably about the right result. The scousers weren’t great and neither were we but I think we achieved more of our game plan than they did. You can tell that from the post match interviews from the players and managers of both teams as well.
I know van Gaal got criticised for our players passing the ball backwards but I’ve never seen so many balls passed back to a keeper in a game than I did on Monday night. Yes it was Liverpool’s approach, they try to go down the one side but that doesn’t work, they then try going down the other side. However, you don’t have to do that via a pass back to your keeper every single time like Henderson did.
Prior to the game though, I had to get to Anfield. This wasn’t easy considering I was only coming from Manchester. I managed to get to the edge of town on a bus before it became gridlocked due to road closures and thousands of people there for the Olympic and Paralympic parade. I’m glad they did it, I’d of gone along myself but scousers away was the priority of course. Once on the coach it took close to two and half hours to get to parking up opposite The Arkles pub near Anfield. Firstly it was chucking it down which made the rush hour traffic leaving the Manchester area even more slow than normal. Then no sooner had we finally got moving around the Warrington area on the M602 that we hit the football traffic heading into and around the Liverpool area itself. I think we got into the ground at around 7.35pm in the end. Even a sniffer dog tried to delay us getting into the ground whilst queuing up.
Onto the game and from the start Zlatan didn’t look his usual self, he was very isolated at times and I don’t think that type of game suits his style. He obviously did what Mourinho asked of him but you know he’d like to see more of the ball than he actually did. When he did get the chance as well though, he fluffed his lines. From where I was stood, I saw the ball whipped in by Pogba from the far side and could see Zlatan was going to get on the end of it right in front of where I was. I was already thinking this is in and was ready to go mental but then he didn’t even hit the target. That was his and our chance!
De Gea pulled of two different but fantastic saves with his right hand to keep us in the game in the second half. Other than that though, both keepers had a quiet night, well except the number of back passes Loris Karius had to deal with. Mostly from their captain Henderson as mentioned.
As the players came over towards us at the end of the game, a chorus of ‘Ander Herrera’ was sang out as he was picked out by the fans for a very good performance and clearly our best player. Turns out he got man of the match afterwards, know surprises there, I think he won nearly all his tackles. If he didn’t, then at least he took his man out. Solid performance.
The players left the pitch, the home stands emptied and we stood there unable to move whilst the stewards and police surrounded us as we were kept in for twenty minutes or so. I heard some grumblings from fans that they weren’t happy with the performance and how boring it was, ‘Mourinho will be chuffed with that display’ was heard a couple of times too. In some ways I agree but if that’s a one-off display and it doesn’t happen every game then I’ll take it. Unfortunately due to where we are in our season currently, it was more about not letting them win, rather than us winning. This time next year will be different.