Monday 16 January 2017

Match report: United 1-1 Liverpool

A late Zlatan Ibrahimovic header earned United a fully deserved point in a typically thunderous clash with Jurgen Klopp's side. 

The visitors led through James Milner's 27th-minute penalty, awarded after Paul Pogba's inexplicable handball from a corner.

The much-maligned Simon Mignolet was Liverpool's hero with superb first half saves to keep out Ibrahimovic and the quiet Henrikh Mkhitaryan. 

It looked like the visitors would hold out and condemn United to a first defeat in 15 games and move back second but the Reds finished strongly to keep the unbeaten run going. 
It was our own much criticised figure who proved influential, when excellent substitute Marouane Fellaini headed off a post, United recycled the ball and Ibrahimovic nodded in off the bar. 

Ibrahimovic went close early on when he charged down a Mignolet clearance but the ball dropped narrowly over, before Pogba raced through one on one only to put his effort wastefully wide. 

Divock Origi scuffed a volley wide before Liverpool took the lead just shy of the half hour mark.

United conceded a corner cheaply when Phil Jones dallied on the ball and Marcos Rojo had to intervene, but Pogba handled when he went up with Dejan Lovren from the resultant corner.

Milner made no mistake with his spot-kick as Liverpool were gifted the lead, but the hosts sought an instant riposte and went close six minutes later.

Ibrahimovic's free-kick was beaten away low down by Mignolet who then thwarted Mkhitaryan with a sprawling save when the Armenian was clean through.

Jose introduced record-equalling Wayne Rooney at half-time, but it was Liverpool who almost doubled their lead on 48 minutes.

At the culmination of a rapid counter-attack, Emre Can picked out Origi and his deflected effort flashed inches wide of the post.

The visitors went close again when substitute Philippe Coutinho played in Firmino, but de Gea saved well and Mkhitaryan went close at the other end in an increasingly stretched encounter.

Georginio Wijnaldum went close and Rooney fired wide from distance, but the Reds finally gained reward for their pressure when Ibra pounced from close range to preserve United's long unbeaten run.

Both sides pressed for the winner but a draw was ultimately a fair result from an enthralling and entertaining contest. 

Overall team performance: 6/10
United Faithful Man of the Match: Marcos Rojo. 

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