Sports, Football

Liverpool, ManUtd draw, Arsenal move on top

By Reuters
Published : 18 Dec 2023 08:49 PM

Liverpool missed out on reclaiming top spot when they were held to a 0-0 draw by Manchester United at Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday, ending their perfect home record this season.

Juergen Klopp's side had been knocked out of first place by Arsenal earlier on Sunday and would have recaptured a place at the summit with a win but lacked their usual goal threat.

A United side shorn of confidence after a miserable week held on grimly for their point although they have now scored just once in their last eight league visits to Liverpool.

The closest the hosts came to scoring was a Trent Alexander-Arnold shot narrowly wide midway through the second half, while Danish forward Rasmus Hojlund had United's best chance. The visitors finished with 10 men after Diogo Dalot was sent off in stoppage time for two yellow cards -- both for dissent. Second-placed Liverpool have 38 points from 17 games with leaders Arsenal on 39, while United are seventh with 28.

Liverpool partly opened their newly revamped Anfield Road Stand for the first time, bumping up the attendance to 57,000 -- the largest for 50 years at their stadium. They were expected to make it 12 home wins out of 12 in all competitions but the inter-city derby, traditionally one of the most feisty in England, failed to really ignite as they never looked like repeating the 7-0 rout of last season.

While United's performance was hardly one to celebrate, it at least showed some spirit after last week's 3-0 loss to Bournemouth and a meek defeat by Bayern Munich in midweek that sent them crashing out of Europe.

The atmosphere was muted in a tepid first half in which Liverpool began brightly but failed to exert sustained pressure on a United side many thought were there for the taking.

United withstood the fast start by Liverpool and looked reasonably comfortable despite 15 goal attempts by the hosts in the first half.

Virgil van Dijk's header from a corner forced United goalkeeper Andre Onana into a smart save while Liverpool midfielder Ryan Gravenberch had a volley deflected wide.

Klopp made a switch on the hour, bringing in Joe Gomez and pushing Alexander-Arnold further forward, and it almost reaped rewards when the latter grazed the post with a low shot.

United managed only one shot on target when, in a rare piece of fluent attacking play, Hojlund played a one-two with McTominay but his angled shot was blocked by keeper Allison.

In a breathless spell Onana then had to dive theatrically to push away a shot by Mo Salah. Liverpool pressed hard late and United survived a scare as a ball struck the arm of Luke Shaw in the area but a penalty was rightly not awarded.