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Liverpool miss Diego Jota's clinical edge in draw with Manchester United - Premier League hits and misses

Plus: Harry Maguire puts on a defensive masterclass for Manchester United at Old Trafford in Liverpool draw; Micky van de Ven is hitting form and fitness at a crucial time in Tottenham's season after impressing against Nottingham Forest; Chelsea take two steps back at Sheffield United

Wasteful Liverpool miss Jota's clinical edge

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Jamie Carragher believes Liverpool are far more clinical with Diogo Jota in their side

A total of 28 shots - the most on record by an away side at Old Trafford in the Premier League - and yet only two goals scored. Liverpool's wastefulness cost them.

Their struggles in front of goal drew parallels with their FA Cup loss at the same ground three weeks earlier, another game in which they were without the injured Diogo Jota. "He is the one player I think Liverpool have missed," said Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher.

The 27-year-old was enjoying a brilliant season before suffering his knee injury in February, scoring nine times in 19 Premier League appearances, only 13 of which were starts.

His clinical edge contrasts with the profligacy of Darwin Nunez, who has made an important contribution this season but continues to frustrate in front of goal.

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores their second goal from the penalty spot
Image: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores their second goal from the penalty spot

Indeed, while Nunez is one of the biggest underperformers related to his expected goals in the Premier League this season, scoring 11 times from an xG of 14.86, Jota stands out as one of the biggest overperformers, netting his nine goals from an xG of only 4.42.

"I think of some of the situations Darwin Nunez had at Old Trafford," added Carragher on Sunday. "If Jota is on the pitch, I think there's a great chance Liverpool come away with three points."

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Nick Wright

Maguire puts on defensive masterclass

United's star man: Harry Maguire stepped up
Image: United's star man: Harry Maguire stepped up

Being a defender at Manchester United is hard work. You are kept very busy. In their last six fixtures, United have faced a total of 162 shots and had to defend 68 corners.

Concentration levels have to be exemplary and you need to play with bravery. Thankfully for Erik ten Hag, United have one of the best around when on song: Harry Maguire.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool

Gareth Southgate believes it and that faith is being vindicated at the highest level of late with Maguire returning to somewhere near his best.

When duels are there to be won and clearances are needed to be made, Maguire is in his element. And with United defending deep up against Liverpool's dangerous attack it was a game where Maguire was in his element.

No player made more clearances than him (8) and won more duels (9) than him while his experience helped his partner in crime at the back Willy Kambwala - making just his eighth senior start - look like he belonged at Premier League level.

Maguire stepped up on a day when United needed him.
Lewis Jones

Chelsea's momentum short-lived

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Sheffield United and Chelsea

There was always going to be a close eye on Chelsea's response to their miraculous win over Manchester United. It was suggested the victory would be the turning point for the Mauricio Pochettino era. The trip to Bramall Lane suggested otherwise.

It was a case of one step forward, two steps back. For the second time in a week, Chelsea had dropped points to a team in the bottom three. They couldn't beat a 10-player Burnley last weekend and Sheffield United weren't far from taking all three points on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino pulled no punches in his post-match press conference, which paints a picture of the frustration he endured watching his team toil against the Premier League's worst side after 31 games. Already he is turning his attention to his summer targets.

Chelsea's head coach Mauricio Pochettino ahead the English Premier League soccer match between Sheffield United and Chelsea at Bramall Lane stadium in Sheffield, England, Sunday, April 7, 2024. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Image: Pochettino has been left scratching his head trying to bring consistency to Chelsea

For a team still well in the fight for a Europa League place, an outcome that felt nigh-on impossible not long ago, it felt odd for a manager to be talking about the transfer window. Chelsea's momentum of a few days ago has been short-lived.

Pochettino also spoke about the work that's been put in to find solutions with the players he has, but it seems he thinks there is only so much more he can do with the options at his disposal. That may raise eyebrows considering the money spent.

The next step for Pochettino's Chelsea will be interesting to watch unfold. Profit and Sustainability Rules could well see them have to sell captain Conor Gallagher, one of their success stories this season, to pay off the big bills they have run up under Todd Boehly.

Chelsea's journey back to the top is anything but guaranteed.
Zinny Boswell

'Fabulous' Van de Ven hitting form and fitness at crucial time for Spurs

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Nottingham Forest

Micky van de Ven is proving to be one the standout summer signings of the season.

The defender, who joined Tottenham in a £43m deal from Wolfsburg, was not just key at the back in Spurs' 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest, but even in attack, as he thundered in their second.

The 22-year-old just makes this Spurs side under Ange Postecogolou a completely different team, with his recent absence keenly felt.

The Dutchman's electric speed was on show in the first half as he superbly sprinted back to sniff out a dangerous Forest counter attack, and it is this pace which allows Spurs to play their aggressive 'Angeball' style.

"He's a fabulous player," Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp said. "I can't think of too many players in world football who are better than him at what he does.

"Arsenal fans would look at (William) Saliba, but I think Van de Ven is equally as good. He's got a lot going for him.

"If he can stay injury free, there's no reason why he can't emulate what (Virgil) Van Dijk has done [at Liverpool]."

Van de Ven's return from injury and fine form has come at a crucial time for Spurs with a tricky run of fixtures ahead.

Tottenham's tricky next four fixtures

  • Newcastle (a) - April 13
  • Arsenal (h) - April 28, live on Sky Sports
  • Chelsea (a) - May 2, live on Sky Sports
  • Liverpool (a) - May 5, live on Sky Sports

Tottenham face Newcastle away, Arsenal at home, Chelsea away and Liverpool away - and it just feels that if Spurs are to take points from these tough games then Van de Ven will have to be at his very best, which he looked on Sunday.
Declan Olley

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