But with everything to play for at the top, this was a clash that delivered few shots on target and even fewer goals — none to be exact — as the two sides settled for a point apiece.
Both will feel they could have had more too, and Liverpool wasted a couple of brilliant first-half opportunities through Roberto Firmino, while Alisson produced a couple of huge second-half stops to keep out Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba. Liverpool will be disappointed to not taking maximum points at home, as United three points clear at the top.
Five years to the day that Manchester United last won at Anfield, Liverpool made it five matches unbeaten against the Red Devils to keep their old foes very much within arm’s reach and extend their incredible unbeaten run on home turf to 68 games.
Jurgen Klopp’s men didn’t work David De Gea as much as they should have, reflected by just three shots on target from 17 attempts. That lack of conviction saw the Reds fail to score for a third consecutive league game and they missed the chance to reclaim top spot as a result.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — A brave move from the Liverpool boss who opted to play Jordan Henderson in defence with young centre-back Rhys Williams on the bench. He won’t be happy with the result but can be pleased to see his side register a clean sheet.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 8 — If Henderson hadn’t worked out at centre-back, Klopp could always have stuck Alisson there. The ‘keeper twice came flying off his line to clear, and also produced two magnificent saves to deny Fernandes and Pogba.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 7 — Produced a David Beckham-esque pass from deep in his own territory to find Roberto Firmino in the opposing penalty area early in the game and later read Fernandes’ intentions to get across the United talisman and avert a dangerous opportunity.
DF Jordan Henderson, 6 — Eyebrows will have been raised when the team sheets came out with the skipper named at the heart of defence. That said, despite getting his positioning slightly wrong a couple of times, he played with his usual passion in a more than respectable outing.
DF Fabinho, 6 — Surely one of Klopp’s biggest assets, he just seems to look more comfortable at centre-back by the week and produced another assured display here. Produced one fine piece of defending to force the galloping Marcus Rashford wide on a counter.
DF Andrew Robertson, 7 — It took less than three minutes for the Scot to produce a shot – of sorts — with a miscued effort into the side netting after some glorious football from the hosts. Almost picked out Firmino with a sensational whipped cross on the hour-mark.
MF Thiago Alcantara, 8 — A composed display. He seemed to glide past his opponents every time he was in possession and imposed his authority with a crunching challenge on Scott McTominay. Also drew one smart save from De Gea with a fine strike from distance
MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 — A typically battling performance from the reliable Dutchman, who saw a first-half effort blocked by Harry Maguire. That was his only sight of goal on a tough afternoon where he had to deal with Pogba and Fernandes in the middle
MF Xherdan Shaqiri, 6 — He probably doesn’t get as many minutes as a player of his quality deserves such is Liverpool’s depth. The classy playmaker saw yellow for tripping the charging Luke Shaw and Fernandes nearly punished him for it from the subsequent free kick.
FW Sadio Mane, 7 — He started brightly and produced the silkiest of turns to spin away from his marker and find Xherdan Shaqiri, before later teeing up Firmino with a wonderful run and lay-off.
FW Roberto Firmino, 5 — Tireless, but wasteful. United hearts were probably beating double-time when Mane laid the ball into the forward’s path, but he could only fizz his effort wide of the target. Later fired another golden chance straight at De Gea.
FW Mohamed Salah, 7 — Thumped his first effort of the game into the stand but came much closer with his next attempt through a crowded penalty area, which was deflected narrowly wide by a relieved Luke Shaw.
MF James Milner, N/R — Introduced late on as Klopp turned to his most experienced asset to protect his side’s clean sheet as United grew in confidence in the closing stages.
FW Divock Origi, N/R — The forward produced some excellent hold-up play to win his side a corner, but had little time to create anything else.