EPL

A hard-fought point – Jonny Evans praises Man Utd for grinding out Anfield draw

By Sports Desk December 18, 2023

Jonny Evans was pleased by Manchester United’s hard-fought, morale-boosting point at Liverpool as Erik ten Hag’s men blocked out the memories of last season’s 7-0 Anfield annihilation.

Pressure and scrutiny has increased as the Dutchman’s difficult second season has worn on, with last weekend’s 3-0 home humbling by Bournemouth the nadir of a wretched campaign.

A lifeless 1-0 home loss to Bayern Munich followed on Tuesday night, with United exiting the Champions League and European football just days before a daunting trip to in-form rivals Liverpool.

Jurgen Klopp’s men had won every home match this season and had 34 attempts on Sunday, but Andre Onana pulled off eight saves as the visitors dug deep to secure a much-needed 0-0 draw.

 

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“We’ll take the point,” experienced centre-back Evans said. “I think we are obviously seventh in the league at the moment, but we were eighth going into the match. Liverpool were top.

“It was a hard-fought point. They dominated the game in terms of being around our box, but we probably had two of the best chances.

“I’ve played games here where you have to grind it out. You don’t always come to Anfield and play well.

“I’ve been a part of this club in the past – even back then, in 2013, we got a win here but the game was very difficult. You have to grind it out.

“It’s a battle, really. It is a game of moments, big moments in the game. We’ll come away, take the point, and move on.”

Sunday match was United’s first trip to Anfield since March’s 7-0 thumping – the largest defeat for either side in this fixture.

Evans was among the United fans watching through his fingers on that occasion and, having returned to the club over the summer, said the whole squad put that loss to the back of their minds.

“I think you block it out by not listening to that,” the 35-year-old academy product said.

“I think we have our own responsibilities going into the game and every game is a chance to win. We always go into every game thinking we are going to win.”

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk certainly did not believe that judging by his comments after a frustrating afternoon, claiming only one team tried to win and United were “buzzing” with a point.

“It is their home patch, they’ve got a good record here and they are playing well,” Evans said.

“They are at the top of the league, they’ve got some dangerous players. We’ll take the point, we defended our box well and move on from it.”

Evans impressed alongside Raphael Varane in the heart of an injury-hit defence, with Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez and Tyrell Malacia ruled out for a game that ended with Diogo Dalot’s sending-off.

“When you are defending on the edge of your box, there are always fine margins at that point,” he said.

“When you come away with a clean sheet after defending like that, it is always enjoyable.”

Asked if this can be the start of something, Evans said: “I think you can take this game in isolation, Man United versus Liverpool is a big match.

“I think we can take the fact that we have been able to defend our box as something we have probably… in the last three or four weeks when we have had to defend our box, we haven’t done that well enough.

“It is something we have discussed, so we take that out of it. Take confidence from it.”

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