Virgil van Dijk claimed only Liverpool tried to win the 212th meeting with Manchester United after Erik ten Hag’s struggling team produced a defiant defensive display to take a point at Anfield.
Liverpool’s frustration in failing to win at Anfield for the first time this season, and failing to reclaim top spot in the Premier League as a consequence, was articulated by their captain after Jürgen Klopp’s side followed up the 7-0 rout of United last season with a goalless stalemate.
United had several chances to punish Liverpool on the counter-attack and Rasmus Højlund, who is yet to open his Premier League account for the club, missed the clearest chance from open play in the entire contest.
Van Dijk argued: “If you see how we played the game, we had most of the ball and created some opportunities. There was only one team trying to win the game.
“We want to win every game of course and that is why it is frustrating. Sometimes we shot too easy and could have passed on the overlap.
“The right decision was sometimes lacking. We carry on of course but it is frustrating because we were superior in all aspects. In the end they are buzzing with a point and we are disappointed with a point.
“Obviously they are not in the best phase. Coming here you are wary of the threat we have. We should have won it. Last year we didn’t come in with a good feeling towards the Manchester United game but we won the game convincingly, but last year doesn’t count now.”
Ten Hag refused to be drawn on the Liverpool captain’s assessment. “It’s his opinion,” said the United manager, who also declined to comment on Diogo Dalot’s late dismissal for two shows of dissent in quick succession.
But the under-pressure manager, who claimed United could have won with more quality on the counterattack, said: “We mentioned it [last season’s 7-0] before the game but I said to them that last year we played Liverpool three times. We lost one time but we beat them two times.
“We are capable of beating Liverpool and we proved today we are capable of it if we bring this on the pitch in every game. First of all, we are a hard team to beat but from that point, we can go and win games and we can win big games.”
Speaking on Sky Sports, the former Manchester United captain Roy Keane accused Van Dijk of arrogance for his post-match comments. “We heard Van Dijk speaking there, obviously a lot of arrogance coming out of him, dissing United like that,” he said. “He needs to be reminded himself, he’s playing for a club that’s won one title in 30-odd years.
“He said only one team wanted to win, Man United are buzzing with the point. Man United are in a difficult place, like Liverpool have been in a difficult place for many a year. So maybe that bit of arrogance backfired on him today.”
Keane added: “I played Liverpool many a time and they were pretty pleased with a draw. I didn’t like his message. I think he’s out of order.”
Olivia Martin is a dedicated sports journalist based in the UK. With a passion for various athletic disciplines, she covers everything from major league championships to local sports events, delivering up-to-the-minute updates and in-depth analysis.