Nightmare for Mo Salah and Liverpool as Egyptian fails to shine at United
Early lapses at the back cost Liverpool at least a point in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Manchester United -- a place where they dominated possession but for once rarely did anything with it.
Liverpool won't ever enjoy as much territory at Old Trafford as they did here, and Jose Mourinho again drafted his tactics on what Liverpool -- rather than his own team -- can do. That respect is the sign of a team that's improving.
Talk of Liverpool sorting out their defensive frailties was clearly just that -- talk. There were signs of complacency and Jurgen Klopp may have been at the heart of that.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- All the good things in the performance are also down to the manager but it was an overly attacking, almost arrogant team selection for the second-placed opposition on a ground where they rarely lose to Liverpool. Changes helped but they could hardly have made things worse.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Loris Karius, 6 -- Little to do and even less he could do about the goals. One good punch late in the game was brave and decisive but apart from that was virtually a spectator.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 3 -- Caught in the headlights early on, the exact opposite of his debut performance on this ground last year. Was still running towards the corner flag when Marcus Rashford blasted in his first and he barely improved for the second. Clearly targeted by Mourinho, and sadly it worked. Hauled off well past the hour mark when most expected it to happen at half time.
DF Dejan Lovren, 4 -- Bullied by Romelu Lukaku for both goals, he couldn't even jump against the Belgian for the opener. Sorted himself out after that but the damage was already done.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 6 -- Generally comfortable but missed a glorious chance when the score was still 1-0 which proved very costly. Nothing he can do about the defensive lapses of others, no matter how much natural command he has personally.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 -- Another spirited performance from the Scot. He had little to do at the back since it was obvious Mourinho had targeted Liverpool's right side. Always dangerous on the edge or even inside of United's area. Sacrificed for an attacking surge late on.
MF James Milner, 5 -- Brought in for the hard graft, his experience couldn't inspire the rest of his side. One or two dangerous corners aside, he had little influence on the game.
MF Emre Can, 6 -- In cruise control for much of the game, he did little wrong but failed to stamp his authority on a match when he was given a lot of room. His reluctance to shoot may be something to do with David De Gea in goal but it's something he can be strong at and doesn't do enough of.
MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 3 -- Very poor display. Selected for his forward runs ahead of Georginio Wijnaldum's work rate, he failed to justify his manager's confidence in almost every single department. Touch was generally terrible and it was no surprise when Klopp replaced him.
FW Sadio Mane, 6 -- Control still as erratic as ever, he was one of the few players to keep trying and look for the ball. Never hid and probably should have had a penalty, but worked hard and a determined defence kept him at arm's length.
FW Mohamed Salah, 3 -- Even the great ones have off days and boy was this an off day for the Egyptian. Seemed to be flummoxed by the pace of such a high octane fixture, which is surprising in itself. Didn't get much right and a last-minute blast over the bar summed up his afternoon.
FW Roberto Firmino, 6 -- Tried everything but for some reason his teammates never seemed close enough to benefit from the few quality touches and crosses he supplied. Hard to say if a better performance could have helped him through United's tight defence anyway.
MF Adam Lallana, 6 -- Contributed more than the man he replaced, always looking for a killer pass into the box but never quite managed it. Liverpool certainly posed more of a threat after he came on.
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, N/R -- Brought on to raise Liverpool's tempo against a back-tracking United, he helped do that. Denied a first away goal by a desperate block.
FW Dominic Solanke, N/R -- Part of a desperate throw of the dice, he could do little to save the game.
Steven Kelly is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @SteKelly198586.