Football

Gary Neville: Mourinho must change or forget about title

Former United defender also says Klopp showed signs of fear by not taking risks

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and Liverpool counterpart Juergen Klopp pointed the finger of blame at each other after their teams' much-anticipated showdown ended in a forgettable 0-0 draw.

Having averaged 3.2 goals per game prior to Saturday's clash, United changed tack for the trip to Anfield, producing an extremely cautious display that moved Klopp to assert the visitors had played for a point.

Seeking to ward off accusations his team had played with undue conservatism, Mourinho suggested that Klopp should have been more proactive and paid him a backhanded compliment by praising Liverpool's defensive organisation.

In a post-match interview, Klopp said Mourinho's defensive tactics would not be tolerated from a Liverpool manager.

Former United captain and defender Gary Neville believes the Red Devils have no chance of winning the Premier League title if Mourinho continues to use negative tactics.

"They have to be better than that away from home if they want to challenge for the title," Neville told Sky Sports.

"In the first half, I thought that United, to be fair, were definitely different to a year ago, there was more intent.

"The second half drifted back towards a year ago, I have to say, where Liverpool were the only team pressing.

"United's intent and quality in the second half were nowhere near good enough. They started to resign themselves to a draw.

"I expected more confidence and authority from them on the counter-attack, but they didn't get anything going.

"It wasn't good enough."

United striker Romelu Lukaku, whose record against the top sides had been questioned in the build-up to the game, managed just one shot during the match and caused Liverpool's defence few problems.

Neville said that the burly Belgian didn't appear to be right mentally.

"I was disappointed with Lukaku, I have to say that. He wasn't himself. He was frustrated. He really didn't make any impact in the game at all," said Neville.

"It's the big matches that will define him as a Manchester United striker, not the matches where he bullies teams."

Neville's verdict on Liverpool was equally damning, as he suggested Klopp and his players showed signs of fear as they failed to push for a winner in the second half.

"I'm sure the headline out of this game will be that Jose has parked the bus," said Neville.

"Liverpool put in a good performance, but Klopp could have turned it up in the second half if he had wanted to.

"He could have taken off (Emre) Can, (Jordan) Henderson or (Georginio) Wijnaldum and brought (Philippe) Coutinho back into the midfield three and made it a more attacking team and taken more chances.

"He dared not lose. They were trying to attack and be positive, but they were still measured in their positivity.

"There wasn't that what I would call Liverpool gungho, that wasn't Liverpool today."

Klopp replaced his front three of Coutinho, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino with the trio of Daniel Sturridge, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke, but the winner proved elusive.

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher agreed with Neville and said that Klopp should have taken more risks.

He said: "Klopp made changes, but he still kept the three-man midfield the same.

"United showed such a lack of ambition it was worth taking a risk by leaving Coutinho on and bringing on another attacking player.

"It was obvious United were here for a 0-0 and hoping to nick a goal from a set-piece or a counter-attack.

"I think Liverpool should have taken the risk to take Wijnaldum or Can off.

"It would have given Liverpool an extra attacking player on the pitch - it could have cost them the game, but it could have won them the game.

"But, with the position Liverpool are in, it was a game they had to go for." - WIRE SERVICES

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