Jose Mourinho believes Manchester United lacked the power and energy needed to turn their control at Anfield into a victory over Liverpool.
United made the trip to Merseyside with just Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic available as midfield options, following injuries to Paul Pogba, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick.
And, speaking to Sky Sports after the game, Mourinho highlighted his side’s inability to combat Liverpool’s midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can.
“In the first half, while we had energy in our midfield, we were very much in control and had no problems,” he said.
“They had one chance after a corner when we didn’t press the man, but apart from that we had total control, we had the ball at times and when they had the ball they didn’t find a solution.
“We had a great chance with (Romelu) Lukaku, and a couple more in second half, but I needed my bench. To play against Can, Wijnaldum and Henderson you need power and energy, and there was only two midfielders so I had no one to compensate that.
“With Philippe Coutinho coming in and making it a four-man midfield at times, the fact I only had Herrera and Matic meant we progressively lost some control, they had a bit more initiative.
“If I have solutions on the bench I could have done things that I have before this season, like at Swansea and Southampton.
“But I don’t like to speak about it, it’s quite unfair for Herrera and Matic because they gave everything, but we were without Pogba, Fellaini and Carrick.
“Can, Henderson and Wijnaldum played 90 minutes and I thought playing a home, seven points behind us, Liverpool would change. They never did.
“They went man for man in attack, kept three midfield players in the centre of the pitch and I had no chance to answer.
“I tried to react by bringing more speed into the attack with Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, who was not fresh at all and injured, but then we couldn’t find situations in the last 20 minutes.”
United were the much-fancied side ahead of kick-off but they failed to replicate the form which has seen them set the early pace in the Premier League.
Mourinho’s men registered just a single shot on target throughout and were indebted to the brilliance of David de Gea as they escaped with a point.
“Liverpool’s midfield was really, really strong, they never changed for 90 minutes, he added.
“They are faster than us when the game breaks and they are faster than us when there are distances between the lines.
“I had no chance to bring the game in another direction so I think it’s a positive point. Once more, we controlled them, it seemed quite frustrating for them.”