Manchester United earned a late 1-1 draw with Liverpool after a late goal from Zlatan Ibrahimovic to reverse a James Milner penalty. The match was intense and neither side looked at their best, making the match completely scrappy, but performances from Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia and Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave United a chance of winning regardless of how poorly some other players performed.
The excitement of this crunch clash translated to a cagey first 10 minutes on the football pitch, as United put Liverpool’s midfield under pressure and Liverpool looked to play penetrative passes into the feet of their front three. Anthony Martial seemed to be the only player on the pitch who could find any joy, with Trent Alexander-Arnold struggling to deal with the Frenchman’s incredible dribbling.
United had two opportunities to score in the 19th minute, as a poor back-pass from Dejan Lovren was almost chipped into the goal by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and then Paul Pogba was put through only to fire just wide with his left foot. Pogba, fresh off his new advertisements, looked ready to succeed, but also a little bit arrogant and careless with his football today, and the consequences came dearly.
Soon after, though, misery came for Paul Pogba. The Frenchman lost Dejan Lovren in the box for a corner, but then he stuck his arms out and handled the ball, conceding a penalty. James Milner tucked away his penalty to put Liverpool up half way through the first half.
Manchester United showed fight, but not quite enough to get back into the game. Chances for Zlatan Ibrahimovic from a free kick, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, almost levelled up the score and changed the game, but United was consigned to a 1-0 deficit at half time. Jose Mourinho marched into the tunnel early, seemingly ready to fire his players up before the second half.
United started the second half by bringing on Wayne Rooney for Michael Carrick, and United immediately looked better. Great play from Martial and Ibrahimovic created a promising chance for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who just couldn’t create the angle to score his goal. Controversially, late in the game, the last substitution was used to bring Marouane Fellaini on for Matteo Darmian, with Marcus Rashford sitting on the bench.
Eventually, though, United got the equaliser, and Fellaini played a massive part. However, it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who beat the goalkeeper after a mess of chances for Marouane Fellaini and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Ibrahimovic swung his foot at the ball and managed to put the ball in off the crossbar from an incredibly tight angle, and emotions were high at the end of the match as both sides tried not to lose the game in such heartbreaking fashion.
United should’ve won the match, but the fight was good and the side earned the equaliser. Ibrahimovic was important throughout the match in bringing others into play, and suggestions that he performed poorly are completely out of line. The Swede, once again, earned Unite a vital point, but more importantly, denied Liverpool of two points, separating second and sixth with a tiny distance of five points.
Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 84′
Assists: Antonio Valencia 84′
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian (Fellaini 76′); Carrick (Rooney 46′), Herrera; Mkhitaryan, Pogba, Martial (Mata 65′); Ibrahimovic
Substitutes Not Used: Romero; Smalling, Blind; Rashford
Bookings: Ander Herrera 90+1′