Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea is world class, says Ray Wilkins
By Dev Trehan
Last Updated: 18/10/16 11:31am
David de Gea can be the key to Manchester United finishing ahead of Liverpool in the Premier League, according to Ray Wilkins.
United earned a point against their bitter rivals with a goalless draw at Anfield on Monday night despite claiming just 35 per cent of the possession - United's lowest share in a Premier League match since 2003 - and having only one shot on target.
Liverpool's superior ball retention did not translate into clear-cut opportunities, however, with two fantastic saves from De Gea denying Emre Can and Philippe Coutinho in the second half.
The draw sees Liverpool close to within two points of league leaders Manchester City, with seventh-placed United a further three points behind.
"I think Manchester United will finish higher than Liverpool purely and simply because they have a world-class goalkeeper," Wilkins told Sky Sports Now on Sky Sports News HQ.
"He was called upon on only two occasions last night and he made two world-class saves. I think he will earn them a lot of points and I think Liverpool have a slight problem defensively.
"Seventy-five per cent of goalkeepers in the world would have let in both of those efforts. Those would have gone in against goalkeepers of a lesser standard than De Gea. He didn't have a lot to do but was absolutely brilliant when called upon."
Jose Mourinho told Sky Sports after the game he was "expecting more penetration" from Paul Pogba, who was deployed just behind lone striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Anfield.
The Frenchman created United's best opportunity with a cross Ibrahimovic was unable to direct on target and Wilkins believes Pogba's performance may have been assessed differently had the Swede converted that chance.
"I think he [Pogba] is an excellent footballer, I really do," added Wilkins, who spent five years at Old Trafford before joining Italian giants AC Milan in 1984.
"When he went there, I thought he would be used more as part of a two in midfield, breaking forward with one holding someone like a Michael Carrick, who Jose doesn't seem to fancy at the moment.
"I thought he did okay - some of his decisions were a tad rash. He was almost playing as a 10 up alongside Ibrahimovic.
"He did demonstrate one moment of absolute class in the second half when he sold a dummy to Jordan Henderson and whipped the ball in there to Ibrahimovic. Arguably, that was the best chance of the whole match and if he had scored with the header it would be a totally different story."