Sports

Liverpool go top after Man United draw

Liverpool go top after Man United draw
Manchester United striker Rashford (left) tries to squeeze in between two Liverpool players.
London, Feb 24 (Agencies): | Publish Date: 2/25/2019 12:00:00 AM IST

Liverpool returned to the Premier League summit despite being held to a 0-0 draw by bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford in a match that was marred by first-half injuries to four players.

After days of anticipation and excitement, the match swiftly descended into farce in the first period, as Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Roberto Firmino and Jesse Lingard were all forced off injured, and the match struggled to recover from an entertainment perspective.

The medical staff were rather less busy in the second half and that allowed Liverpool to increase the pressure, generally dominating against a United effectively playing with 10 men due to Marcus Rashford struggling with a knock. But the Reds could not take advantage, with United arguably happy to hold on to the draw which sees Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set a new record points haul for a manager in his first 10 Premier League games, taking him on to 26 points.

After losing Nemanja Matic to injury in the build-up to the match, the first 25 minutes were nightmarish for United in terms of fitness, losing Herrera and Mata, while Rashford was also in pain.

Liverpool did not remain unscathed, as they lost Firmino just past the half-hour mark having appeared to roll his ankle.

Lingard – Mata’s replacement despite being deemed not fit enough to start following a hamstring injury – then seemed to aggravate that problem when attempting to round Alisson for the only real chance of a bizarre first period, forcing Solskjaer to replace him with Alexis Sanchez.

Liverpool looked to turn things up after the break, but United’s defence provided an excellent platform. A rare opportunity fell to them 20 minutes from time, as Georginio Wijnaldum headed just wide from a corner.

United briefly thought they had the lead when Joel Matip put into his own goal in the 75th minute, but Chris Smalling – who played the ball into the danger zone – was offside, and that proved to be the final chance at either end, as Liverpool dropped points for the third Premier League game in four.

Meanwhile, Arsenal moved ahead of Manchester United and back into the top four with a 2-0 win against Southampton.

Goals early in the first half from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were enough to win it against a poor Southampton side who remain in the relegation zone, one point from safety.

Lacazette gave Arsenal the lead on the break in the sixth minute with a backheeled finish amid claims of offside from the visiting defenders. And Mkhitaryan sealed the points on a comfortable afternoon for the hosts when he converted Alex Iwobi’s low cross on 17 minutes.

 

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