A high-flying Liverpool were looking to move back to the top of the Premier League table with a win over a struggling Manchester United side as they hosted the Red Devils at Anfield.

12/22/20233 min read

Before the match, almost every football pundit had predicted Liverpool to easily brush aside United and they had valid points to support their argument. Firstly, United were in a poor form and just days before had been knocked out of the Champions League and secondly, no one has forgotten Liverpool destroying United by 7-0 the last time the two sides met at Anfield.

As the match began, Liverpool wasted no time and started attacking with all guns blazing. United could barely get out of their own half as the Reds controlled 80% of the ball possession and did not allow any opportunity for a United counter-attack. However, they were finding it quite difficult to break United’s centre-back pairing of Johnny Evans and Raphael Varane. André Onana made some good saves when needed and Luke Shaw along with Diogo Dalot also helped a lot in closing down Liverpool’s attacks. The Red Devils’ brave defending was the main reason why the scoreline remained as 0-0 at half-time.

As the 2nd half started, Liverpool went back to dominating the game as United stayed on the back-foot and kept on defending. Liverpool got their best chance of the game in the 66th minute when Trent Alexander-Arnold’s effort just went narrowly wide of the goal. United themselves had the chance to take the lead 2 minutes later when they started a counter-attack and Scott Mctominay gave a good pass to Rasmus Højlund who just had to beat Alisson to score. But it was Alisson who came out on top with a fine save and denied Højlund his first ever Premier League goal.

Onana then made 2 crucial saves to deny Mohamed Salah and Ibrahima Konaté from giving the lead to Liverpool. Both sides made changes in the final 15 minutes as the game headed towards a draw. Then, in stoppage time, one of the most controversial moments of this season’s Premier League took place.

Diogo Dalot was not happy about a throw-in decision which went Liverpool’s way and he wildly threw his hands in the air as a protest and also shouted at the ref. The referee Michael Oliver first showed Dalot a yellow card for dissent but just 20 seconds later gave him a 2nd yellow and sent him off, meaning that United had to defend the last few minutes with 10 men on the field.

It was already a questionable decision but it became even more questionable when the replay clearly showed that the ball touched Salah’s feet and went out of play and it should’ve been a United throw-in so Dalot was right to protest against Oliver’s decision. If he made the correct decision in the first place then there would’ve been no need for Dalot to protest.

Then the game resumed as there were 2 minutes of stoppage time still left to play. In the end, United’s defense proved to be too good for Liverpool as the visitors held the game to a draw and became the first side to keep a clean sheet against Liverpool this season. Varane’s great defending throughout the game earned him the man of the match award.

It was quite a frustrating match for Liverpool as even though they dominated majority of the game, still they couldn’t find a way to score against United’s tight defense. Also the draw meant that they failed to go back to the top of the league table and now sit on 2nd place, one point behind Arsenal. They’ll be facing the Gunners in their next match and that game will decide who goes to the top of the table. While for Manchester United, this match could be a morale booster as no one was expecting them to even earn a draw at Anfield because of their bad form and injuries. But they defied the odds and defended very well to stop Liverpool at their own home. They’ll try to build on this result against West Ham on Saturday as the Premier League action resumes.