Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes that Manchester United struggled to deal with Liverpool’s high-pressing approach during his side’s 1-1 draw with Jurgen Klopp’s men in the Premier League.
Liverpool managed to suppress the home side during the opening with some furious pressing in midfield and eventually took the lead after 27 minutes.
Jose Mourinho’s men recovered in the second half, however, and managed to take control of proceedings, eventually drawing level through a superb Ibrahimovic header.
And Zlatan, speaking to Sky Sports after the game, bemoaned his side’s failure to deal with Liverpool’s pressing in the first half.
“We were not on the top of our game,” he said. “It was a hard fight, a hard game.”
“We were 1-0 down then we chase and chase and it was a different game then we got the equaliser. I think we made simple mistakes. We were not feeling comfortable under the pressure from the opponents.
“I think we played the wrong way. If we played like the second half in the first it would be a different game.
“What changed? We were more direct. We didn’t build from behind we put it up and we start from up instead because they did very high pressure.
“We did too many mistakes in our build up the second half it was [right] to go more direct.”
Liverpool, to their credit, made life difficult for Man United in the first half. Klopp’s decision to employ a diamond meant that the midfield was flooded by Liverpool shirts, clearly intent on pressuring the likes of Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba into making mistakes, which in turn blocked the supply line to Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Mourinho noticed this and responded at half time, bringing off Carrick for Wayne Rooney and switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation.
The tweak gave United more leverage further up the pitch and somewhat nullified Liverpool’s high-tempo pressing, especially when Marouane Fellaini‘s presence gave them licence to opt for a more direct route going forward. In the end, United grabbed a deserved equaliser, but supporters will be disappointed with their side’s failure to claim all three points.