Manchester United 2-2 Liverpool: Arsenal advantage restored as Klopp’s side beat themselves

News Desk
Manchester United celebrate Kobbie Mainoo's goal against Liverpool
Kobbie Mainoo scored a beauty for Manchester United

Liverpool only had themselves to blame after Manchester United came from behind with two ludicrous goals to draw at Old Trafford and open up the title race.

The Reds had started the weekend top of the Premier League and knew only a victory against their bitter rivals would help them reprise that position after Arsenal and Manchester City won their games.

All was going to plan when Luis Diaz opened the scoring in a first half Liverpool completely dominated, with Manchester United not mustering a single shot.

Their first effort came when Bruno Fernandes pounded on an errant Jarell Quansah pass to lob Caiomhin Kelleher from near the halfway line in the 50th minute.

Liverpool lost their nerve thereafter and Kobbie Mainoo fully punished that headloss with a sublime curling strike 17 minutes later.

Mo Salah restored parity with a penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka clumsily fouled Harvey Elliott, but it undoubtedly represented dropped points for Liverpool as they failed to find a winner.

It was the 27th point Klopp’s comeback kings have won from a losing position but may not be enough, putting them level with leaders Arsenal on 71 points but substantially behind on goal difference.

Liverpool will be praying a costly Old Trafford draw does not go on to cost them the title like it did five years ago.

This match started as the tie three weeks ago ended, with Alejandro Garnacho racing through to round Caoimhin Kelleher and score inside 71 seconds.

But the flag quickly went up as the teenager had strayed offside when being put through by Fernandes and United would go on to fail to register a first-half shot as their intense start dramatically tailed off.

Andre Onana produced a strong hand to stop Dominik Szoboszlai after United’s makeshift, injury-hit backline – with Willy Kambwala making only his second start – creaked for the first time.

The Liverpool midfielder had another two chances, with Andy Robertson driving across the face of goal before the away side’s 23rd-minute opener.

Robertson’s corner from the right was flicked on at the near post by Darwin Nunez, with United lax defence punished as the inexplicably open Diaz volleyed into the ground and beyond Onana.

It was no less than the visitors deserved, but the hosts could have levelled almost immediately had someone attacked Casemiro’s header back across goal from a free-kick.

Liverpool looked determined to capitalise on that let-off. Onana twice denied Salah, who slashed another chance into the Stretford End after Nunez curled over.

United supporters’ frustration was palpable and grew when Casemiro kicked the ball out of play after Diaz went down injured.

The goalscorer did not even require treatment and was soon threatening to extend Liverpool’s lead’ which they continued to threaten when the second half got under way.

United continued to flounder but used a get of jail free card in spectacular fashion as their first shot brought a 50th-minute leveller.

Jarell Quansah’s misplaced was picked off by Fernandes, who hit an outrageous, first-time effort from 45 yards that flew beyond Kelleher and bounced home.

Kelleher excellently denied a Rashford cross-shot after Virgil van Dijk deflected a Garnacho shot just over as the hosts looked for a quickfire second.

But they were not in control and Liverpool wasted a gilt-edged chance, breaking with five men against what had been two defenders, only for Nunez waste a chance at the back post.

Both managers turned to their bench before another moment of individual quality had Old Trafford shaking in the 67th minute.

Mainoo collected the ball at the halfway line and drove forwards, playing to the left and running into the box 18-yard box. The teenager demanded the ball, turned into space when he received it and brilliantly bent home to spark bedlam.

United fans chanted “Jurgen’s cracking up” as Garnacho saw a shot saved on the break and Joe Gomez’s deflected attempt was stopped.

Onana denied Diaz and Old Trafford cheered as Salah missed the follow-up, but the visitors were not to be denied for long.

Wan-Bissaka’s challenge on substitute Elliott led referee Anthony Taylor to point to the spot, with Salah stepping up to send Onana the wrong way in the 82nd minute.

Liverpool piled on the pressure as United wobbled, with Diaz lashing over from six yards.

But it was not all one-way traffic and Kelleher stopped Antony from sealing another stunning winner, with Elliott seeing an even latter shot denied.