Ander Herrera gave a wonderful performance during Manchester United’s 0-0 draw with Liverpool in the Premier League on Monday night.
The Spaniard, deployed in a defensive midfield role, was absolutely everywhere all evening, taking control of a furiously paced midfield battle from the first whistle.
A glance at his stats shed light on what was an effervescent display from 27-year-old: 3 clearances, 5/5 take-ons completed, 11 interceptions, 16 tackles, 50 passes.
This game, for all its seismic build-up, was a largely scrappy, unattractive affair. Not one for the footballing purist, that’s for sure. Man United fans, on the other hand, will be largely impressed with the way Jose Mourinho approached this game: solid, dedicated and ruthless. And at the heart of that was, of course, Herrera.
Games between Liverpool and United, especially in the midfield domain, accept no passengers: you either sink in miserable fashion, or you take control. This, ladies and gentlemen, was a midfield masterclass from Herrera. Every loose ball was his; every pass was delicately and accurately delivered; every Liverpool player was, at some point, harassed by the midfielder, unable to match his sheer fervour and tenacity.
Inspecting the line-ups prior to the match, one couldn’t help feeling that, at least on paper, Mourinho’s men would be overrun in midfield by a bold, confident Jurgen Klopp side. As it was, Herrera made the midfield strictly his, ensuring that Liverpool – built up to an absurd degree before the game – barely laid a glove on the visitors.