Monday Night Football

Liverpool go head-to-head with Manchester United while Dundalk and Cork are back in action

Ruaidhri Croke Mon, Oct 17
 
LIVE: Monday Night Football

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  • Good evening and welcome to The Irish Times liveblog of Liverpool v Manchester United at Anfield. My name is Ruaidhrí Croke and I'll be with you for the evening as these two old rivals go head-to-head for the first time this season. You can get involved by using the 'Contact Us' button at the top of the blog or you can get me on Twitter @Ruaidhri_Croke.

    This match really doesn't need much build-up. It's Liverpool and Manchester United. It's big. We all know that. If you've had enough of the incessant Sky Sports build-up and feel that you'll put your foot through the television if you hear Jim White utter the words 'Red Monday' or hear another iota of Jamie Carragher/Gary Neville 'banter', then you've come to the right place. Tonight this blog will be safe haven from all of that nonsense. We're focussing only on the football here because (you may be surprised to hear this) an actual football match is set to break out at 8pm. And there was you thinking it was just a week-long TV series of build-up and hype.

    Along those lines is Ken Early's column in today's newspaper. You can read that here: You can watch nothing and yet miss nothing.

    You can also take in a preview of tonight's clash here: José Mourinho stirs the pot with comments about referee ahead of trip to Anfield.

    That should get you nicely warmed up for what should be an earth-shattering, lightning fast, passion-filled night of thrills, spills, excitement and plenty of goals!

    Or it could just as likely be a boring 0-0 draw.

    Sit tight, kick-off is under an hour away and team news is to follow!

  • Liverpool: Loris Karius; Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, James Milner; Emre Can, Jordan henderson, Philippe Coutinho; Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge, Roberto Firmino.

    Manchester United: David de Gea, Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind; Ander Herrera, Marouane Fellaini, Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba, Ashley Young; Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

  • Contrary to popular belief there is also other football going on tonight. And it's in Ireland. Actual domestic football in Ireland.

    Dundalk will look to take a further step towards a third league title in a row when they take on Longford Town at 8 o'clock while Cork City will look to stay in touch with Stephen Kenny's side. They face St Pat's in Inchicore at 7.45. I'll be keeping you up to date with the scores in those as well.

    This is all the Monday night football you need in one place!

  • They obviously don't realise they can follow it all together here. Shame on them.

    So Mourinho has opted to go with the height and strength of Felliani, supplemented by the set piece expertise of Young. The word is that Anthony Martial has an injury and that's the reason he sits out tonight. With the team Mourinho has selected you can't imagine United will do much more than attempt to sit tight and ensure they don't lose.

    The emphasis will be on Liverpool to attack but, with their defence which has looked shaky all season, United should be able to cause them some problems. Klopp has taken the gamble of hoping Daniel Sturridge will play a full 90 minutes without getting injured so it will be interesting to see how that pans out. You can read Jacob Steinberg's take on the Liverpool and England striker here: Time for Daniel Sturridge to stop craving attention.

  • Just 15 minutes until kick-off now. A black cat has just strolled across the Anfield pitch. Is it a sign?! Of...something.  

    'Cat Cam' surely has to be Sky's next big move. Give the people what they want.

  • Mourinho is out in the dugout before any of the players, doing his thing. For some reason there are many Liverpool fans taking pictures of the back of the opposing managers head.

    Anyway, the teams are in the tunnel, we're nearly there!

  • Dundalk are just about to kick-off against Longford at the City Calling Stadium while Cork and St Pat's remains scoreless after 15 minutes.

    The teams are now on the pitch at Anfield, finally, finally, the football is about to begin!

  • 1 min:  United kick it off and we're underway!  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 3 mins: The frantic start to the game that many anticipated has materialised. Liverpool are controlling the possession so far but Marcus Rashford has just broken that up by flying into James Milner. He certainly let him know he's there anyway. The home side get the free kick and Rashford escapes a booking.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

    At Richmond Park Pat's have taken the lead against Cork thanks to a Christy Fagan strike. (St Pat's 1 Cork 0)

  • 5 mins: Liverpool are enjoying most of the possession but United aren't giving them a second. Ander Hererra is the latest to give away a free-kick for an overly eager tackle.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 6 mins: Pogba goes down 40 yards from goal and United get a free-kick. It's a long way out but dead centre and Ibrahimovic is going to have a go...

    But it flies a long, long...long way over the bar.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

  • 9 mins: The pace is settling down a little bit now as United take more of the possession. Milner just tried to find Sturridge down the left wing but the Liverpool striker had decided not to make the run and it rolls harmlessly out of play.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 15 mins: United have managed to get on top and Liverpool have gone quite scrappy in the last few minutes. A nice one-two between Blind and Young down the left creates space for Pogba. He should spray it right to Rashford in acres of space but instead opts to shoot from range and it flies a long way over.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 17 mins: United are beginning to cause a few problems now. Pogba picks it up on the left and cuts inside. He finds Ibrahimovic just inside the box with his back to the goal. The Swede controls beautifully and lays it back to Pogba who shoots first time but Lovren manages to get a block in.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

    St Pat's 1 Cork 0

    Longford 0 Dundalk 1 (Massey, 15')

  • 19 mins: United get another attempt away, this time thanks to Ibrahimovic who tests Karius for the first time from range.

    In League of Ireland matters it's all going the way of Dundalk who will go seven points clear with just three games to play if the scores stay the same.  

  • 21 mins: United are comfortably stroking it around the midfield now as Liverpool chase but fail to break it up. They do get possession back hgowever as Hererra sprays a pass wide to Rashford but he loses concentration and lets it slip under his foot to go out for a throw in. United are completely in control but haven't quite created any gilt-edged chances as of yet.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 23 mins: Halfway into the first half the home side finally get a shot away but Emre Can's long range effort flies a long way over the bar.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 26 mins: Great play from Rashford down the right as he throws a stepover which bamboozles Milner before whipping a dangerous low cross into the six yard box which Karius has to dive to touch away from the toe of Ibrahimovic. The frustration is growing now among the Liverpool support as they watch their team struggle with United continuing to dominate possession.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 30 mins: Chance for Liverpool! A rare foray into the United box almost results in something as Henderson plays a diagonal from the right which finds the head of Firmino but his header is straight at De Gea.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 34 mins: A quick kick-out from De Gea finds Young all along 30 yards from the Liverpool goal. He takes it down beautifully before playing a one-two with Rashford and swinging a high cross in towards the back post. Karius flaps and gets nowhere near it but is saved by Anthony Taylor's whistle for a foul by Ibrahimovic on Lovren.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

    St Pat's 1 Cork 1

    Longford 0 Dundalk 1

  • 38 mins: United have been excellent defensively and so disciplined. Every time Liverpool get into the United half Rashford tucks in on the right and Young on the left, creating essentially a back six. Liverpool are struggling to break it down but have held a lot more possession in the last 10 minutes or so. A whole 82 per cent to United's 18, in fact.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 42 mins: It hasn't been the frantic first half that many predicted but that's largely thanks to excellent defensive work and constant pressing from United. Their discipline has been extremely impressive.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

  • 44 mins: Bailly picks up the first yellow card of the match after coming through the back of Sturridge. It's a good position for Liverpool on the right but Coutinho's delivery is poor and it flies straight into the hands of De Gea.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 45+1 mins: Henderson comes right through on Hererra but escapes a booking. It was very similar to the foul that saw Bailly's name go in the book and Ashley Young isn't happy about it. He protests towards Anthony Taylor and picks up a booking of his own.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • HALF TIME: LIVERPOOL 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 0
  • In Longford David McMillan has put Dundalk 2-0 up right on the stroke of half time. In Inchicore Pat's and Cork are still locked at 1-1.
  • So, entertainment-wise that first half was pretty horrific. There hasn't been one chance of note.

    But United will go into the dressing room much the happier after taking the sting out of Liverpool, completely suffocating them and silencing the home crowd. It's exactly how Mourinho set up to play and so far it's worked perfectly with 11 men getting behind the ball every time Liverpool attack.

  • There have been just nine touches combined for both teams in the opposition half. That's the lowest of any Premier League game all season. What on earth has happened to Red Monday?!
  • The teams are back out on the pitch, here we go!
  • 46 mins: Liverpool get the second half underway and attack the Kop End.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 47 mins: United enjoying most of the ball in this second half so far and Valencia almost creates a chance down the right. He ghosted past Milner with ease before delivering a good ball into the box but Ibrahimovic was the only United player in there and Matip could clear.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 49 mins: Karius almost gifts United an opening goal with a horrendous attempted pass to Milner. It went straight to Rashford on the edge of the box and he played it first time to Ibrahimovic but, luckily for the Liverpool goalkeeper, the Swede was offside.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 54 mins: Chance for United! What a chance it was! Pogba collected on the right and sold Henderson for a dummie, the Liverpool captain charging off in compltely the opposite direction. The United midfielder looked up and curled a superb cross into the back post where it was met by the head of the onrushing Ibrahimovic but he completely mistimed the header and Karius was able to collect easily. That should have been the opener!  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 58 mins: Chance for Liverpool! Well maybe, just maybe, this game is pringing into life! Matip pushed forward and found Can bursting throgh a gaping hole in the United defence. He controlled and managed to bundle his way past Smalling before getting a low shot away towards the left bottom corner but De Gea got down superbly to get a hand to it and divert the danger. What a save!

    Liverpool have also made the first change of the game with the ineffective Sturridge coming off for Adam Lallana.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

    Meanwhile, Daryl Horgan has found the net again for Dundalk and the title looms large now for Stephen Kenny's men.

    Longford 0 Dundalk 3

    St Pat's 1 Cork 1

  • 63 mins: Liverpool are managing to string a few more attacks now and are linking up better. Hererra lost out to Firmino in the middle and he set Mane away. Coutinho was charging in from the left and Mane found him with a good pass but Blind had tracked him the whole way and timed his challenge perfectly in the box to disposses the Brazilian.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 66 mins: Liverpool are well on top now and Coutinho is causing trouble as he begins to find pockets of space. His pass through to Lallana wins a corner but Bailly clears well for United.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 68 mins: What a tackle from Pogba! Firmino went down the left and cut inside before finding Milner who was charging towards the edge of the box. He looked to shoot but was stopped by Pogba who came surging in from behind and got his body between Milner and the ball. Excellent challenge.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 71 mins: Valencia goes to collect the ball for a throw-in on the right as one Liverpool fan screams abuse in his face while another whips out his phone and takes a photo. The mind boggles.

    Liverpool are still on top possession wise but United are holding strong and not allowing them through.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

    St Pat's 2 Cork 1

  • 72 mins: What a save from De Gea! Coutinho cut in from the left and attempted one of his trademark long range curlers towards the right top corner but the United 'keeper flew across his goal to make a spectacular save!  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 75 mins: Bailly gets United out of a hole with some superb defending. Blind had slipped on the halfway line, gifting possession to Mane who surged forward and tried to slip Firmino in on the right but Bailly came charging across to nick it off his toe and clear. United don't look a threat going forward at all now and are sitting in tight. They could really do with Martial to bring a bit of pace in the counter-attack.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 77 mins: Here we go...Wayne Rooney replaces Rashford for United.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 81 mins: United make a rare break into the Liverpool half in the form of Valencia down the right. He delivers a high ball into the back post which Can is forced to clear for a corner.

    Blind's corner finds Fellaini who is compltely free on the penalty spot but his header bounces tamely wide.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)

  • 84 mins: What a tackle from Valencia! He's just saved his side thee! Can's ball from the halfway line found Coutinho 30 yards from goal with his back turned. He played a left footed back heel first time shich cut through the United defence and found the onrushing Firmino who looked to be throug on goal but Valencia somehow got back to slide in and clear the danger. What a tackle.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 85 mins: Divock Origi replaces Firmino while Alberto Moreno comes on for Milner for Liverpool.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 89 mins: It's all gone a bit flat the last few minutes. United are holding possession well and frustrating Liverpool. Ibrahimovic is booked for a late foul on Can.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 90 mins: We'll have three minutes of added time. Ladies and gents I'm sorry to tell you this, but Red Monday is coming to an end. And what a 0-0 draw it's been!  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • 90+2 mins: Fellaini is booked for kicking the ball away as Shaw replaces Young.  (Liverpool 0 Manchester United 0)
  • FULL TIMES

    LIVERPOOL 0 MANCHESTER UNITED 0

    LONGFORD 0 DUNDALK 3

    ST PAT'S 3 CORK 1

  • So, that's that then. It wasn't exciting, there's no getting away from that. Liverpool will be the more frustrated as United completely suffocated them with good disciplined defensive play. If you scroll back to the preamble you'll see that I (sort of) predicted a 0-0 draw. It's a pity I didn't back it.

    Domestically Dundalk now look all but assured of a third title in a row having defeated Longford 3-0 while Cork went down 3-1 to St Pat's in Inchicore. Stephen Kenny's side can now lift the trophy on Friday as they lead Cork by seven points with just three games to go.

  • Jordan Henderson has been speaking to Sky Sports and says that it's a frustrating result for Liverpool and they needed to be more decisive in the final third.

    "We dominated with the ball but didn't quite create that clear-cut chance. Maybe we were trying to force it a little bit and it was a bit hectic at times."

  • Jurgen Klopp: "It was difficult. I'm not happy about the game, it was hectic, pressure here pressure there. I think we didn't play as good as we could have played. With their man on man defending we weren't brave enough and didn't pick the right pass.

    "They didn't create chances. They had two maybe in the second half - one which we gave them and it was offside. It's a first clean sheet but that's all I'm happy about.

    "We got a point against Man United, there are worse things in the world."

  • Jose Mourinho: "It was more difficult for them than for us. We dominated the game. The game was completely under our control not just from the tactical point of view but also from the emotional point of view. We influenced the atmopshere in the stadium as they were showing their disappoointment.

    "By the defensive point of view we did really well tactically. We should have had a little bit more in attack. We had a big chance that I thought Zlatan was going to score but we missed a little bit more sharpness in the middle.

    "In the positions Pogba was I expected a little bit more penetration.

    "They are not the last wonder of the world as you [Sky Sports] like to say they are but they are a good team."

  • With that I shall leave you. It hasn't been the most exciting night of football and United will leave the happier side.

    Meanwhile, Dundalk march on towards their third consecutive title.  

    Thanks for reading along, bye!