Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off failed to live up to expectations as the Reds and the Red Devils played out a 0-0 draw. Rather than a game full of goals as both sides contained a dangerous attacking threat, it was a tale of defenders and goalkeepers keeping their side in it, and Joe Gomez was Liverpool’s stand out man at the back.
The young England international has not had the best of starts to his Anfield career, often injured or playing out of position across when asked to do a job in different positions across the back four, but the goalless draw with Manchester United was undeniably his best performance in a Liverpool shirt.
On a day where Romelu Lukaku looked to get his first United goal against Liverpool, the young defender was up to the task, helping both Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren keep the big Belgian quiet. Where nerves could have certainly got the better of the 20-year-old, Gomez can hold his head high after an astute display, later stating his frustration at failing to pick up all three points.
The full-back gave his all in an intense affair, countlessly driving forward and tracking back for the entirety of the game. With tackle upon tackle, while linking up positively with team-mate Mohamed Salah down the right-hand flank, Gomez deservedly received the Premier League Man of the Match reward at the full-time whistle.
However, Gomez’s standout feature of the effective display was undoubtedly his handling of dangerous attacker Anthony Martial, who had been hyped up pre-game to the extent that he would be the real danger aside from Lukaku. Gomez was professional and disciplined in dealing with the French forward, sticking by his side at all times and not allowing him breathing space while on the ball. When the equally-formidable Marcus Rashford was introduced late on, Gomez remained calm and kept his cool to deal with the forward just as effectively.
Despite the attacking talents on display, a 0-0 draw was perhaps always on the cards as Jose Mourinho set his side up to defend, yet the result now means Liverpool and United have drawn three consecutive league meetings for the first time since 1921.
The Reds now face a trip to Slovenia on Tuesday to face Maribor in the Champions League, before travelling to Wembley on Sunday afternoon to take on Spurs. Many Reds fans will feel the young England defender owed them a top performance, and those fans will certainly be glad that it arrived in such a huge game for the club.