Premier League | Jan 15, 2017 | Old Trafford | Attendance: TBC | Scorers: Ibrahimovic 84; Milner 27
Old Trafford, Manchester
11-3-7, 6th Premier League
Z. Ibrahimovic 84′
13-2-6, 3rd Premier League
J. Milner 27′
The atmosphere inside Old Trafford during Sunday’s big match was electric before kick-off. United and Liverpool fans stood together for a period of applause in remembrance of the late Graham Taylor. That camaraderie soon fizzled out as the referee blew for the much-awaited kick-off. The ‘wahala’ soon began in earnest!
Manchester United drew 1-1 with arch rivals Liverpool on Sunday’s big match at Old Trafford. With this unfortunate draw at home, United are now unbeaten in 16 games following a hard-fought 1-1 draw. That we didn’t beat Liverpool at home, has somewhat, reduced our bragging rights as United shared points with Liverpool.
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren made a sloppy back pass to goalkeeper Simon Mignolet which gave Ibrahimovic an opportunity to score. The towering Swedish striker got something on Mignolet’s clearance and the ball arced back at goal, only to settle on its roof – that was disappointing!
Liverpool midfielder, James Milner, opened the lead for the visitors from the penalty spot midway through the first half after Frenchman Paul Pogba handled the ball foolishly in the box. Milner shot behind the United net to take the lead.
Possession: United 52% Liverpool 48%
Shots at goal: United 4 Liverpool 5
Shots on target: United 2 Liverpool 1
Corners: United 3 Liverpool 5
Swedish maestro, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (photo: celebrating, below), leveled up with a header late in the match to give United a share of the spoils.
Mourinho introduced Captain Wayne Rooney at half-time. I’m sure that Rooney hoped he could revive United and break Sir Bobby Charlton’s goalscoring record in the process. He tried but to no avail.
Boss Jose Mourinho made four strategic changes to the side that beat Hull City in the EFL Cup on Tuesday with Marcos Rojo, Michael Carrick, Anthony Martial and Ibrahimovic all coming back into the starting XI in place of Chris Smalling, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Marcus Rashford.
Manchester United nearly won what would have been a great comeback victory. United showed a fighting spirit unmatched in a long time. United’s nine-match winning-streak run in all competitions came to an end today, it’s now over, but mind you, United is still unbeaten in 16 fixtures.
Possession: United 55% Liverpool 45%
Shots at goal: United 9 Liverpool 13
Shots on target: United 3 Liverpool 4
Corners: United 5 Liverpool 7
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Rojo, Darmian (Fellaini 75); Carrick (Rooney 45), Herrera, Pogba; Martial (Mata 65), Mkhitaryan; Ibrahimovic.
Subs not used: Romero, Blind, Smalling, Rashford.
Liverpool: Mignolet; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klaven, Milner; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Lallana, Firminho, Origi (Coutinho 60).
Subs not used: Karius, Gomez, Moreno, Stewart, Ejaria, Sturridge.
Booked: Lovren, Firmino.
WE WEREN’T AT OUR BEST – IBRA
Zlatan Ibrahimovic spoke to Sky Sports after the big game. He admitted United were not on top form but the United Swedish point man was generally pleased with the fighting spirit shown by his team.
“We get one point and I don’t think we were at the top of our game,” he said. “It was a hard fight, a hard game, and we were 1-0 down. We chased and chased, and it was a different game. But then we got the equalizer.”
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What was a clincher for United happened when United defender, Phil Jones, made a shaky play on the ball in the back and lost it to Roberto Firmino in the 27th minute – and Liverpool got a corner. And on that unfortunate set piece, Paul Pogba hand-balled it trying to cover Lovren, whom he had lost and cost United a corner. Liverpool midfielder James Milner smashed in the penalty kick – and our problems started before Ibra evened up late in the second half.
As a matter of fact, Manchester United and Liverpool did grind out a 1-1 tie that helps neither team much. United is still stuck in the 6th position as the Premier League grinds forward to an uncertain future filled with hopes for another round of unbeaten runs – as United fight to sneak-in into the top four slot.
Well, it could’ve been worse. What can I say . . .
Up Man U!