Liverpool surrender title lead in chaotic derby draw with Manchester United

Liverpool blew the opportunity to remain at the top of the Premier League table after a derby draw with Manchester United that left them with a lingering sense of deja vu.

Only three weeks after being knocked out of the FA Cup at Old Trafford, in a game which they largely dominated, Jurgen Klopp’s men once again failed to pass the chaotic test of overcoming Erik ten Hag’s ragtag bunch.

Luis Diaz put the Reds ahead at the break before Bruno Fernandes took advantage of an error to score from 40 yards. United then led through Kobbie Mainoo’s sweet strike yet Mohamed Salah rescued Liverpool a point from the spot.

The hosts threatened to cause big problems for their rivals inside the first few minutes when Alejandro Garnacho was narrowly offside before rounding the goalkeeper and scoring what would have been the opening goal.

It took Liverpool a bit of time before they got going and the first warning sign came via Dominik Szoboszlai breaking in behind with acres of space, only to be denied by Andre Onana’s sharp reflexes.

Soon enough, the Reds were in near-total control and carved United open at will. The opener, on 23 minutes, was fully deserved with Darwin Nunez flicking on a corner for the unmarked Diaz to turn home.

The only surprise for the rest of the first half was how they failed to make it two. Salah, Nunez, Szoboszlai and Conor Bradley all saw attempts flash past the post or blocked while United entered the break without a shot to their name – having conceded 14.

Perhaps inevitably, United levelled with their first shot of the game. Jarell Quansah’s sloppy pass not only found Fernandes just inside the Liverpool half but also caught Caoimhin Kelleher well off his line, which the Portuguese playmaker spotted as he lobbed a shot into the bottom corner.

Old Trafford arose from its slumber yet the visitors should have gone back ahead moments later when a swift counter saw Nunez with options to shoot and pass in the six-yard box, yet whatever it was that he did produce warranted neither description.

Just as in their FA Cup tie only last month, the Red Devils harnessed the chaos in their favour and delighted in once-calm Liverpool heads going off.

In the 67th minute, Garnacho and Aaron Wan-Bissaka came down the left and found Mainoo with his back to goal and just inside the box. A moment later, the ball was nestling in the top corner after a slick spin and shot left Kelleher stranded.

Klopp’s fury on the touchline was evident and, after some time, his team were persuaded to regain a semblance of control. Joe Gomez, off the bench, tested Onana before Diaz’s shot was parried towards Salah and the rebound blazed over.

Yet the Egyptian cooly made amends from the penalty spot with six minutes to go after Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s stonewall foul on Harvey Elliott.

With seven added minutes and a draw not good enough to send Liverpool top, they ploughed on looking for a winner and Diaz shot over from Andrew Robertson’s knockdown before Antony failed to emulate Amad Diallo when racing through at the death.

Elliott’s effort, straight down Onana’s throat, capped another derby of chaos which, again, ultimately left Liverpool worse off.



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