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Liverpool 0-0 Manchester United: Spoils shared at Anfield as Reds miss chance to return to Premier League summit

Liverpool and Manchester United played out a share of the spoils to draw the curtain on round 17 of the 2023-24 Premier League season.

Both sides were beaten on the continental front in midweek, albeit with different repercussions with Liverpool already through to the knockout phase of the Europa League, while Man United’s defeat saw them crash out of Europe altogether.

In stark contrast to the last meeting between the sides at Anfield, Sunday’s encounter kicked off on a drab note as Liverpool could not break down the Man United rearguard.

The Reds came closest to opening the scoring just before the half-hour mark when Virgil van Dijk rose highest to head a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner but Andre Onana was on hand to tip the ball over the bar.

Looking to continue his fine personal record against Manchester United, Mohammed Salah called Onana into action three minutes shy of the interval but the United goalkeeper was equal to the task once again.

Liverpool kicked off the second half just as they ended the first with the summit of the Premier League firmly in their sight.

Alexander-Arnold produced a mazy run at the start of the second half but could only drag his effort wide of the goal.

Having soaked up pressure for large spells of the contest, Erik ten Hag’s men nearly delivered a sucker punch through Alejandro Garnacho who was denied by a last-ditch intervention from Alexander-Arnold.

Mo Salah continued his duel against Onana as he curled one towards goal in the 64th minute which was quite comfortable for the Cameroonian to deal with.

Alexander-Arnold and Salah were Liverpool’s biggest attacking threats in the second half and they nearly combined to give the hosts the lead midway through the second half when Arnold dragged his effort wide with Onana rooted to the spot.

Still yet to open his account in the Premier League, Rasmus Hojlud was presented with a decent chance in the box but the Dane failed to convert thanks to some good goalkeeping from Alisson.

With the game becoming increasingly stretched, Mo Salah had another crack at goal 20 minutes from time which produced arguably Onana’s best save of the clash.

The United shot-stopper was having one of his better afternoons for his new employers as he repelled Ibrahim Konate’s shot for his sixth save of the game.

Liverpool continued to pile on the pressure and thought they had earned a penalty in the 85th minute when Luke Shaw seemingly handled the ball, but the VAR was happy for play to continue.

Five minutes were added at the end of normal time and United had to navigate the final knockings with a man less following Diogo Dalot’s sending-off for dissent.

That proved to be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things as the Red Devils held on for their first point at Anfield since 2021.

For Liverpool, Sunday’s draw represents a missed opportunity to return to the top of the league standings and the Reds are now a point adrift of Arsenal ahead of next week’s heavyweight meeting.

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