After a lot of hype and nervous anticipation, Liverpool's clash with Manchester United was a frustrating experience.
In truth, the Reds have not played especially well in weeks but still eked out the wins.
Despite topping the table prior to the weekend, Liverpool's forwards (bar Mohamed Salah of course) were in the midst of a mini-goal drought, while Jurgen Klopp's side have relied on less likely scorers of late.
On Sunday at Anfield, the forwards' goal drought continued and no-one else was able to step up.
The Reds toiled against a weak United side, lacking cohesion and decisiveness for much of a low-quality encounter.
After the match, captain Virgil van Dijk complained about the visitors' tactics in playing for a draw, but in truth, Liverpool should've had enough to break down their opponents but didn't make the most of their chances.
The match was a far cry from the 7-0 back in March, which Jurgen Klopp admitted pre-match was a once in a lifetime kind of experience.
Amazingly, however, Liverpool mustered 34 shots against United on Sunday – their most in a Premier League game since 2003/04 without scoring, as noted by Opta.
It is also the most by any top-flight side without a goal since 2016.
Perhaps most incredibly, the Reds' total of 34 shots is also almost twice as many as they had in the famous 7-0 from last season – 18.
34 - Liverpool had 34 shots against Man Utd, their most on record (from 2003-04) in a Premier League game without scoring, and the most by any side without a goal in the competition since Man Utd's 38 v Burnley in October 2016. Wasteful. pic.twitter.com/v5wHYKfK03
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 17, 2023
The 2023/24 Reds also had more possession in the fixture (71%) than last season (61%) and the same number of shots on target.
Opta also notes that the eight saves Andre Onana was forced to make was the most by a United keeper without conceding since David de Gea's total of 11 against Tottenham back in 2019.
Van Dijk, Ibrahima Konate and Salah are among those who tested Onana's palms, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ryan Gravenberch and Joe Gomez put chances wide, with the match ending with an xG of Liverpool 2.35-0.63 Liverpool.
Though the Reds created chances enough opportunities overall to score at least once, the chances they did create were largely rushed, snatched and from difficult positions, showing they still need to improve at carving out higher quality chances in order to get more clinical.
Speaking after the final whistle, Klopp acknowledged his team's deficiencies in front of goal.
"The main thing I don't like is the result, we should have won the game," he said. "With that number of finishes a few more should have been on target. It should have been more, but there were some things I liked. The counter pressing was the best with this group, the intensity and the start was probably our best so far.
"This today hurts, it is good, it gives us a lot of information as well and now we have to finish the situations off.
"Some situations were where we shot from distance when there was probably a player in a better position. It is okay, you need one goal and everything would be right."