It was never going to be easy for any team to try and get a result from Klopp’s Liverpool, a side that were closing in on an 18-game-winning run. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United, who had everything to lose, managed to get a thrilling draw.
Once again however, as it so often happens lately, the game was overshadowed by the use of VAR and the new handball rules.
The game was intense from the get-go, as one would expect when two of England’s best teams go head-to-head, and while United were better at keeping possession, it was Liverpool who had more chances, one of them being in the 12th minute, when Wijnaldum played a one-two with Robertson, before quickly dribbling through the United players, but his effort went straight into David De Gea’s arms.
After the first 25 minutes however, it was United that picked up the pace, with both McTominay’s shot and Rashford’s run on the left hand-side being admirable efforts to break down Liverpool’s defensive line.
That break down, came in the 36th minute, when a quick counterattack by United led to Daniel James rushing down the right hand side before curling in a beautiful low cross into the six yard box to find Rashford who put it away. This was the first instance of a #VAR controversy, as the replays show that Divock Origi may have been fouled before United got the ball, but Martin Atkinson gave the goal.
The second controversy came in just minutes later, before half time, when a long ball found Sadio Mane inside United’s box and in his attempt to control the ball, the Senegalese international used his hand , although unintentionally, before scoring and the referee cancelled it out, a decision which left Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp fuming at the 4th official.
The second half began the same as the first one. Only this time, it was Liverpool who were keeping possession of the ball and Man United had the better chances to finish off the game. Both Rashford in the 67th minutes and Fred in the 83rd saw their shots going just wide from Alisson’s left-hand-side post.
With United failing to convey their chances, in the 84th minute, subtitution Adam Lallana managed to equalise. With Liverpool playing in United’s half, the ball rolled in to Robertson on the left side, who put in a beautiful low cross, that went past the whole of United’s defence, and found Lallana who was left completely unmarked by the Red Devils’ captain, Ashley Young.
With just minutes left to play, both teams were pressuring and looking for the winning goal, and it was on the 2nd minute of added time that Oxlade-Chamberlain almost won it for Liverpool, releasing a powerful low shot from outside the box, that just missed the right post of De Gea’s goal.
The game now leaves Liverpool at first place with 25 points, six points ahead of Manchester City, and United in 13th place with a mere 10 points.
Manchester United: (3-4-3) De Gea, Lindelof, Maguire, Rogo, Wan-Bissaka, McTominay, Fred, Young, Pereira (90′ OFF), Rashford (84′ OFF), James
Subs: Romero, Jones, Mata, Martial (84′ ON), Greenwood, Garner, Williams(90′ ON)
Liverpool: (4-3-3) Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Wijnaldum (81 OFF), Fabinho, Henderson (71′ OFF), Origi (60′ OFF), Firminho, Mane
Subs: Adrian, Lovren, Milner, Keita (81 ON), Gomez, Oxlade-Chamberlain (60′ ON), Lallana (71′ ON)
Words by: Alex Papagiannis
Photo by: Jaleel Akbash on Unsplash