• Thursday, May 30, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Man United dent Liverpool title hopes to hand Arsenal Premier League lead

GettyImages-2139226417

Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge was dented after playing a 2-2 against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday evening.

Luis Diaz opened the scoring in a dominant first-half for Liverpool but Bruno Fernandes levelled it up for Man United and after Kobbie Mainoo handed United the lead, Mohamed Salah netted a 84th-minute penalty to give both sides a point.

The result means Liverpool 71 points – the same as leaders Arsenal – but stay second due to their inferior goal difference, while they are one point ahead of Manchester City with all three sides having just seven games left.

Man United remain in sixth, 11 points behind Aston Villa with a game in hand as they look to keep their slim top-four hopes alive.

Should the Reds fail to mark Jurgen Klopp’ final season in charge by winning a 20th English top-flight title, to match United’s record, they will look back on this day and wonder how two points got away.

For Liverpool, it was a similar story to their thrilling 4-3 FA Cup quarter-final defeat as they wasted a series of chances to extend their lead and ended up getting hit by the United sucker punch.

The home side did have the ball in the net after just 90 seconds but Alejandro Garnacho had ran offside well before receiving Fernandes’ pass.

What followed was complete domination by Liverpool, who ended the first half with 15 shots to United’s none.

Andre Onana produced one fine save to deny Dominik Szoboszlai but Liverpool were guilty of consistently letting the hosts off the hook.

Szoboszlai, Salah and Darwin Nunez were all wasteful in front of goal.

Liverpool did lead 1-0 at half-time as Luis Diaz fired in Darwin Nunez’s header from a corner.

The pattern looked set to continue at the start of the second period as Nunez had a goalbound effort blocked.

But Liverpool were stunned as the title race took another twist out of nowhere on 50 minutes.

Jarell Quansah’s slack pass went straight to Fernandes, who spotted Caoimhin Kelleher well off his line and lobbed the Irish goalkeeper from just inside the Liverpool half.

United suddenly had a fresh lease of life as Garnacho’s deflected effort flew just over.

Liverpool failed to find a winner to hand Arsenal the advantage in the title race thanks to the Gunners’ nine-goal lead on goal difference.

Erik ten Hag’s men are 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa and eight behind Tottenham in fifth.