LIVERPOOL: Manager Jose Mourinho insisted his players deserve all the credit after the first goalless draw between Manchester United and Liverpool in 12 years and 28 matches.
United’s defensive tactics saw them have just 35pc of possession, their lowest total in the Premier League since Opta started collecting data in 2003.
Nevertheless, despite managing just one shot on target and winning only one corner, Mourinho claimed Reds counterpart Jurgen Klopp should be the one under the spotlight.
He said: “Last season United won here. Liverpool had 14 shots on target and United had one. How many shots on target did Liverpool have on target today? Two [official statistics recorded three].
“Two shots on target with 65 per cent of possession. You have to be critical of Liverpool. It is their problem, not our problem.
“I think it was a good performance. It was a difficult match for us and for them and I think we controlled the game tactically and emotionally and it is not easy to do both things here.
“The result I think is acceptable. We wanted more. For long periods in the game we thought that could be possible but we didn’t score and, if you don’t score, you don’t win. But I think it was very positive performance.
“We stopped them playing, but they also did very well from the defensive point of view.
“They played (Emre) Can and (Jordan) Henderson for some reason and they did that for 90 minutes, so they normally project more players in attack.
“They were very cautious. They kept always Can and Henderson in position. They had only one player behind the three more offensive players. I think it was their intention to try and control us, which they also did well.”
Mourinho’s tactics were not unexpected – he did exactly the same, if not more extreme, when he was Chelsea manager in April 2014 and on that occasion they won 2-0 to derail Liverpool’s title bid.
It was nothing Jurgen Klopp did not expect to see.
Liverpool’s manager said: “I wasn’t surprised. I am not too happy. The game from the first second was very hectic and maybe that was what Manchester United wanted and we didn’t want and it was maybe more for their advantage.
“But you have to find back to the way we usually play. We lost patience far too early and our passing game was not good. I am pretty sure the last thing Jose Mourinho wants to do is to make a compliment to my team.
“When we saw the line-up, it was clear there would be a lot of high balls but I don’t remember a lot of chances they created from these situations.”
For all United’s negative tactics, Klopp expected more from his side and was disappointed they allowed themselves to become frustrated so quickly.
He said: “We had 65pc possession but we have to do better. I didn’t expect we would have 10 to 15 chances.
“Second half we had chances but (David) De Gea was finally warm and he made brilliant saves. They had that chance with (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic. The best news tonight is we have one point more and a clean sheet, nothing else.”