Jose Mourinho won't win any awards for entertainment but the Special One did it again at Anfield, pacifying the attacking machine of Liverpool and leaving with a point.
It wasn't pretty and Romelu Lukaku was reduced to fewer touches than both goalkeepers yet Jurgen Klopp's men weren't exactly mass producing chances of their own. Nevertheless, the Red Devils needed David de Gea to be on his toes when the moment came.
Mourinho revealed after the game that he was waiting in vein on the touchline for Klopp to move to a more offensive set-up, at which point he could expose them on the counterattack.
The chance never arose and with United settling for the 0-0 draw, Manchester City could move clear at the top of the Premier League with a 7-2 demolition job on Stoke City.
As pragmatic as Mourinho's performance was at Anfield, it would be easy to imagine the deluge of criticism had Louis van Gaal still been at the helm.
The Dutchman was regularly berated for his negative football at Pld Trafford but actually enjoyed great success on his away trips to Liverpool. Mata's brace and bicycle kick secured the three points in his first season and a Wayne Rooney strike wrapped up the win in his second.
Nevertheless, Van Gaal was sacked in 2016 when Mourinho became available after his Chelsea sacking.
So it was both apt and brilliantly interesting that LVG was in attendance with Dutch television and carried out a number of interviews with home outlet Ziggo Sport. Such as the one below:
Aside from trying his hand at punditry and analysis, however, Van Gaal took a trip to Anfield's new tunnel where he bumped into Mourinho. The pair had worked together at Barcelona between 1997 and 2000.
And, per ESPN, a presenter with him in the tunnel at the time has recalled said conversation in Van Gaal's presence.
He reminisced: "Before the game, Jose Mourinho comes up to you, shakes your hand and calls you mister, coach, the boss and says if you want to join us before the game or after in the dressing room just come over ... I didn't know what I was witnessing."
To that, Van Gaal explained: "Remarkable, eh? He is basically a very sympathetic guy. He was like that as an assistant but also as an opponent.
"He only lets himself go sometimes in front of the media and, of course, the way I suspect he took over at Manchester and my sacking went is, for me, not very chic [classy]."
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