Rediff.com  » Sports » EPL PIX: Liverpool go top with draw at United; Arsenal cruise

EPL PIX: Liverpool go top with draw at United; Arsenal cruise

February 25, 2019 00:00 IST

Liverpool, who have 11 games remaining, will be disappointed not to have taken advantage of an injury-ravaged United, who slip to fifth after Arsenal's win over Southampton.

IMAGE: Liverpool's James Milner, right, tries to get past Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool took over at the top of the Premier League table despite being held to a 0-0 draw against Manchester United in a scrappy match on Sunday.

Juergen Klopp's side have now drawn three of their last four Premier League games and have 66 points from 27 games while second placed Manchester City, who play Chelsea in the League Cup final later on Sunday, have 65 points from the same number of games.

 

Klopp looked frustrated and irritated throughout the game as his team struggled to find the attacking verve, which has been the basis of their success this season, against a United side that was forced to make all three changes in the first-half.

The Liverpool manager suggested his team had been affected by the stop-start nature of the first half.

"We didn't do well to be honest. We take that. It is a point gained because we have one more than before but it doesn't feel like that," he said.

"These games are always opened up by one situation. The boys didn't feel okay. I could see it in their faces. It was strange. I was thinking 'what is gong on here today'. They lost momentum and rhythm and couldn't really get it back."

IMAGE: Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge, right, is tackled by Alexis Sanchez of Manchester United. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Liverpool's supporters struck a different tone, however, as they left the home of their old rivals chanting a reminder of their league position as they focus on the chance to win their first top flight title since 1990.

The point means that Liverpool, who have 11 games remaining, will be disappointed not to have taken advantage of an injury-ravaged United, who slip to fifth after Arsenal's win over Southampton.

Having lost holding midfielder Nemanja Matic to injury before the game, Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera went off in the 20th minute and a limping Juan Mata was replaced by Jesse Lingard five minutes later.

But Lingard did not even last until the break as he suffered what appeared to be a recurrence of his hamstring strain and limped off to be replaced by Alexis Sanchez.

Lingard had the best chance of the half when he was found in the box by Romelu Lukaku with a perfectly threaded pass but Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker was quickly out to foil the England attacker’s attempt to round him.

Amid those three United injuries, Liverpool also lost their Brazilian forward Roberto Firmino to an ankle injury with Daniel Sturridge pressed into action.

After such a messy first half, neither side were able to truly get into their stride in a disappointing game.

Liverpool defender Joel Matip turned the ball into his own net but the assistant referee had already signalled that Chris Smalling was off-side before his low cross fell into Matip's path.

Without Firmino and with Mohamed Salah having a quiet game, Liverpool's only real opportunity came from a corner but Georginio Wijnaldum headed wide.

Arsenal ease past Southampton to go fourth

IMAGE: Alexandre Lacazette, right, celebrates after scoring Arsenal's first goal against Southampton. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Arsenal cruised to victory over a disjointed Southampton thanks to two first-half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the Emirates on Sunday, taking them back into the top four in the Premier League.

Arsenal took the lead in the sixth minute in bizarre circumstances, Lacazette neatly back-heeling in a pass from Mkhitaryan while the rest of the team were still appealing for a penalty after Lucas Torreira took a tumble in the box.

The goal came seconds after Saints' Nathan Redmond was through on goal at the other end, only to fire his shot straight at goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

The home side doubled their advantage minutes later when Southampton keeper Angus Gunn, making only his second Premier League appearance, cleared the ball straight into the path of Arsenal's Alex Iwobi.

The Nigerian midfielder bolted forward and passed across the goal to the unmarked Mkhitaryan, who thumped his shot low into the corner.

Lacazette should arguably have had a hat-trick within the first half, but he was unable to take advantage of any of the numerous opportunities that came his way.

First he had a glancing header from a Granit Xhaka corner saved, then he blasted over the bar from within the six-yard box, and seconds later he spun away from his marker and shot straight into the outstretched leg of Gunn.

Southampton, by contrast, looked a shadow of the team that won the reverse fixture at St Mary's in December, registering only three shots in the half to the Gunners' 11.

They brought on Charlie Austin in the second half to see if he could maintain his record of scoring against Arsenal every time he has met them in the league, but the Saints were unable to break back into the game.

The result moves Unai Emery's side up into fourth place in the standings on 53 points after Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The Gunners remain unbeaten in 13 home league matches this season and have now won their last seven in a row at the Emirates.

Source:
© Copyright 2019 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT