Man Utd dent Liverpool’s title hopes with chaotic draw at Old Trafford

Liverpool deservedly led at half-time before brilliant finishes from Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo turned the game on its head.

Manchester United prevented Liverpool from going top of the Premier League with the draw at Old Trafford
Manchester United prevented Liverpool from going top of the Premier League with the draw at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Manchester United dented bitter rivals Liverpool’s title hopes as Mohamed Salah’s late spot-kick salvaged a 2-2 draw in Jurgen Klopp’s final trip to Old Trafford.

Three weeks on from Erik ten Hag’s men edging an FA Cup classic at the end of extra-time, this age-old rivalry resumed in a similarly chaotic clash in the Premier League on Sunday.

Luis Diaz put dominant Liverpool into a deserved half-time lead against stumbling United, only for Bruno Fernandes’s 45-yard jaw dropper and a magnificent Kobbie Mainoo effort to turn the match on its head.

Salah levelled with a late penalty after Aaron Wan-Bissaka brought down Harvey Elliott, but the Reds could not eke out a winner as Ten Hag’s men successfully put a spanner in their old foes’ title charge.

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’s lax defence punished as the inexplicably open Diaz volleyed into the ground and beyond Onana.

Diaz’s acrobatic finish put Liverpool ahead at Old Trafford
Diaz’s acrobatic finish put Liverpool ahead at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

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 pass 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 squander 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 forward, playing to the left and running into the 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.

Salah earned a point from the penalty spot
Salah earned a point from the penalty spot (Martin Rickett/PA)

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 84th 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.