Swedish football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic saved José Mourinho’s Manchester United a point by scoring against Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Old Trafford in Week 21 of the 2016/2017 English Premier League.
José Mourinho decided to start Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford on the bench. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic were included in the starting eleven as usual. No other major changes to the starting eleven wad made by José Mourinho.
Manchester United | S-XI: De Gea, Valencia, M. Rojo, Jones, Darmian, Carrick (C), A. Herrera, Martial, Pogba, Mkhitaryan, Ibrahimovic. Substitutes: S. Romero, Blind, Smalling, Fellaini, Mata, Rashford, Rooney.
Joel Matip, who has been recovering from an injury, was prevented by FIFA from being included in tonight’s squad due to eligibility issues with Cameroon men’s national football team, which Joel Matip has retired from. Jürgen Klopp continues to keep faith in Simon Mignolet to be Liverpool’s goalkeeper of the night. Philippe Coutinho was back in the squad but started the match on the bench. Divock Origi was given the chance to start this match by Jürgen Klopp, replacing Daniel Sturridge who started the match on the bench.
Liverpool | S-XI: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Klavan, Milner, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Firmino, Origi. Substitutes: Karius, Gomez, Moreno, Stewart, Ejaria, Coutinho, Sturridge.
Manchester United opened the first half very strong looking defensively more disciplined and effective in their counterattacks. Manchester United put a higher pressure on Liverpool’s defence, which frustrated them. However, Liverpool performed well initially, particularly in their defensive performance. The English referee, Michael Oliver, handed Liverpool a penalty after Manchester United’s Paul Pogba got his hand on the ball in his own penalty box in the 26th minute. Liverpool’s James Milner made no mistake and scored from the penalty spot in the 27th minute. He had scored each of his last the penalties in the English Premier League. The first half ended Manchester United 0, Liverpool 1.
Manchester United opened the second half even better than the first half. They managed to keep their momentum and be more consistent in the second half. Manchester United’s attacking force managed to tear apart Liverpool’s solid defence and creating more space but they lacked decisiveness and precision in their finishings. Nevertheless, José Mourinho did not need to worry as Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up and scored with a header in the 84th minute after a beautiful cross by Antonio Valencia. The match ended Manchester United 1, Liverpool 1.
It was a very exciting and intensive match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford, which ended in a two-goal draw.
Overall, Manchester United were stronger and looked more dangerous, particularly in the second half. They were defensively solid and disciplined. Manchester United had great amount of pace and more direct in their counterattacks but lacked precision and decisiveness in their finishings. Neverthelesd, Swedish football dtar Zlatan Ibrahimovic stepped up and saved his Manchester United a point.
Liverpool were defensively more compact and disciplined throughout the match. Liverpool’s attackings were not that direct and were not sharp enough in front of Manchester United’s goal.
Manchester United remain on a sixth place with 40 points in the league and are just two points behind local rivals Manchester City. Liverpool are on a third place with 45 points in the league table, which is the same amount of points as Tottenham Hotspur but with a worse goal difference.
Manchester United will face Stoke City away from home at the Stoke City Stadium and Liverpool will host Swansea City at Anfield on January 21.
Manchester United: De Gea – 3.5, Valencia – 3.5, M. Rojo – 3, Jones – 3, Darmian – 3, Carrick – 3, A. Herrera – 3, Martial – 3, Pogba – 3, Mkhitaryan – 3.5, Ibrahimovic – 5. | Substitutes: Rooney – 4, Mata – 3.5, Fellaini – 3.5.
Liverpool: 366;”>Liverpool | S-XI: Mignolet – 3.5, Alexander-Arnold – 3, Lovren – 3, Klavan – 3, Milner – 4, Henderson – 3.5, Can – 3.5, Wijnaldum – 3, Lallana – 3.5, Firmino – 3.5, Origi – 3.5. | Substitutes: Coutinho – 3.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United)