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1st March 2019

United get a point against Liverpool despite four first half injuries

James Owen takes a look at one of the Premier League’s most anticipated matches, as the in-form Manchester United hosted top of the table Liverpool
United get a point against Liverpool despite four first half injuries
Photo: Sean MacEntee @flickr

A stalemate at Old Trafford saw Liverpool go top of the Premier League as Manchester United dropped down to fifth. In a highly anticipated fixture between England’s two most successful sides, lacklustre performances in the final third made sure the fixture was anything but a classic.

Jurgen Klopp’s men started off on the front foot with James Milner powering an indirect free kick into the Manchester United wall. Liverpool continued to apply the pressure as Joel Matip was brought down on the edge of the area, but again Liverpool failed to capitalise as Mo Salah’s effort sailed over the bar.

In the 40th minute, Manchester United created the chance of the half as Romelu Lukaku played Jesse Lingard in behind with a pass that left the Liverpool defence flatfooted. Alisson was quick to respond though with an exceptional save.

What started as a high tempo game of football quickly became disrupted in bizarre fashion, as Manchester United interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was forced into making all three substitutions within 40 minutes, whilst Firminho also made way for Daniel Sturridge. Marcus Rashford, who suffered a knock early on, was forced to hobble on with no substitutions available.

After the break the visitors couldn’t take advantage of United’s injury woes, failing to register a shot on target with United happy to let them control possession of the ball. Instead, it was Solskjaer’ men who enjoyed the better chances with Matip putting the ball in his own net on the 71st minute (something he attempted in similar fashion midweek). However, his blushes were spared as Michael Oliver correctly ruled it offside.

“It was a strange game, we started really well. All the injuries in the game obviously cost us rhythm. It happened to us with Bobby [Firmino] and that was a catastrophe,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said after the game.

Solskjaer praised his team’s performance, “I can’t remember David having to make a save, so we kept them out of it, and we probably created one or two massive moments that we could have scored.”

Midweek wins for both United and Liverpool against Crystal Palace and Watford respectively helped sustain their top-four and title challenges.

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