VAR made the headlines again asMarcus Rashford‘s controversial strike looked to have handed Man Utd a crucial win, before Lallana struck in the 85 th minute.
Having won just twice since the opening day of the season,Ole Gunnar Solskjaerknew he was under pressure to deliver a result that could send the fans home happy. *******
The Norwegian unveiled a 5-3-2 formation, with Rashford and Daniel James deployed as wide forwards. The return of David De Gea provided a massive boost, while Mohamed Salah’s absence would have surely rocked Liverpool’s preparations.
Perhaps buoyed by the occasion and the crowd, United came storming out of the blocks with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Andreas Pereira particularly keen to impress.
Liverpool, meanwhile, were struggling to put together the kind of football that had seen them win (league games on the trot.)
It wasn’t until just after half-hour mark before we saw the first chance of the game. Mane broke down the right and cut it back to Firmino, who should have done a lot better with his first-time effort.
VAR had been involved in deciding three other matches on the weekend and it proved to have a huge hand in this one too.
Victor Lindelof appeared to foul Divock Origi in the build-up but play carried on and when James sped down the right, the Welsh winger whipped in a fine cross to Rashford, who finished with aplomb.
The entire Liverpool team pleaded with Martin Atkinson, but with many expecting the goal to be disallowed, the cheer from the home crowd said it all. Goal allowed.
Liverpool managerJurgen Kloppwas absolutely furious, complaining with the fourth official on the touchline . But the German’s words weren’t going to change anything – VAR had ruled once again.
Perhaps spurred on by the sense of injustice, Liverpool worked hard to find an equaliser and thought they got their wish on the stroke of half time. A long ball forward found Mane, who shrugged off Lindelof and finished beyond De Gea.
This time Manchester United complained and after a brief VAR review, the goal was chalked off. The Old Trafford faithful celebrated as if it was a goal of their own making.
After the break, Solskjaer’s side kept their 5-3-2 shape and continued to frustrate the league leaders. Those waiting for a resurgence from the Reds were left disappointed, as Mane and Firmino failed to find inspiration with Klopp as ever an animated figure on the touchline.
The German sent on Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamerlain for some more creativity, but found a stubborn United backline in their way.
FULL TIME | Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool
Lallana’s late strike denies Manchester United a crucial win but their winning run comes to an end.
A good point for United, even if it won’t feel like that tonight.
90 5 mins:Heart-in-mouth moment for Fred as he appears to shoulder away the cross from Mane. Liverpool appeal for handball and there is going to be a VAR check.
The check is complete and it’s a corner. One last chance …
90 4 mins:Oxlade-Chamberlain tries to pick out Alexander-Arnold who is absolutely free but it’s poorly executed. A big chance goes begging.
90 3 mins:Pereira gets a decent ovation from the fans after putting in a shift.
He’s replaced by 19 – year-old Brandon Williams.
90 2 mins: Oxlade-Chamberlain daisy cutter VERY CLOSE!
My oh my! That was nearly the goal for Liverpool.
Rashford allows his England team-mate to get past him and he strikes it with his left, and it’s a matter of inches wide!
90 mins:There will be FIVE minutes added on. That’s going to feel like a long time for United now.
88 mins: Alexander-Arnold just over!
It’s all Liverpool now and you can feel the nerves in this Man Utd defense. Alexander-Arnold tries his luck with an audacious volley from 20 yards out, but it’s just over.
Our reporters react to Lallana’s strike …
James Robson:“Akiller blow for United, who had looked so well-organized defensively. A huge test for United now. How much do they want it – how much are they prepared to risk? “
David Lynch:“You could say it looked like it was coming given Liverpool’s domination of possession but it didn’t! The Reds’ play had been so, so short of its trademark quality, and it says a lot that a mishit cross gets them back in it. Jurgen Klopp won’t care, though, his team look like they’ve avoided defeat – and they might even have time to win it. “
85 mins: What a moment for Lallana!
Finally, Liverpool make the breakthrough. Robertson crosses from the left and the low cross bounces through the box. United don’t get a man to get clear it and Lallana sneaks in to tap home. That’s his first goal in two-and-a-half years!
The check is complete and the goal, this time, is given! Cruel on Man Utd, who have been the better side today
GOAL! | Manchester United 1-1 Liverpool | Adam Lallana 85 ”
82 mins: Fred comes so close to killing the game off!
What a story that would’ve been.
The Brazilian shoots from 20 yards and it’s so close, a matter of inches away!
77 mins:Liverpool are trying to put some moves together but it’s a combination of their own lack of confidence and United’s strong defensive work which is making life difficult for them.
You do get the feeling they’ll get one chance, though. ..
72 mins:You wouldn’t believe Man Utd were 14 th coming into this game, the way they’re playing.
It’s another lovely move as Young finds James, who lays it off to Fred and he spurns his effort.
70 mins:Wow. The captain Henderson is the man to come off and on comes Adam Lallana to inject some creativity into this Liverpool side.
69 mins:Fabinho goes into the book after James robs Mane and United come forward on the counter.
What you might call a ‘clever’ foul from the Brazilian, because the home side were away then.
James Robson at Old Trafford
“There’s the danger for Liverpool for the last 25 minutes. The more they go in search of an equaliser, the more they risk the pace of Rashford and James hitting them on the break. Remember, Martial is on the bench, too. “
66 mins: Rashford wide!
Brilliant counter attack from United as the ball comes to Rashford. He waits for the run of James to take Matip wide and surges past him, before powering a low effort a few yards wide of Alisson’s goal.
63 mins:Liverpool are growing in confidence and throwing a few more men forward now.
Oxlade-Chamberlain picks up the ball some 25 yards out but drags his shot wide.
60 mins:Klopp makes his first change: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain replaces Origi.
59 mins:Boos from the away supporters after James goes down taking a blow to the head. He was knocked out cold when playing for Wales last week too.
This time the winger is conscious, but does have a bloody nose. He’s back on the pitch, but might it be wise to take him off given the blows he’s taken to his face?
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Man Utd vs Liverpool starting XIs
Man Utd XI:de Gea, Lindelof, Maguire, Rojo, Wan Bissaka, McTominay, Fred, Young, Andreas Pereira, James, Rashford.
Substitutes: Jones, Mata, Martial, Romero, Greenwood, Garner, Williams.
Liverpool XI:Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Mane, Firmino, Origi.
Substitutes: Lovren, Milner, Keita, Gomez, Adrian, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana.
Referee:Martin Atkinson (W Yorkshire)