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Dublin: 2 °C Wednesday 16 January, 2019


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It’s over four-and-a-half years since Liverpool beat their bitter rivals Manchester United in the Premier League, but if ever there was a moment for the Reds to right that wrong, it’s today.

Victory at Anfield would send the Reds back above Manchester City to the top of the table, and underline the shift in the balance of power between the sides.

Jose Mourinho will have other plans though, you suspect.

Kick-off is at 4pm.

TEAM NEWS: Three changes for the hosts with Nathaniel Clyne making his first league start of the season, and Dejan Lovren and Sadio Mane both returning to the starting XI.

Of the team that started against Bournemouth last weekend, Shaqiri drops to the bench and Matip and Milner are not involved today.

Liverpool: Alisson, Clyne, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita, Salah, Firmino, Mane.

TEAM NEWS: It’s a very defensive side from Mourinho, which could arguably turn into a five at the back. No Paul Pogba either, and he has to be content with a place on the bench.

Manchester United: De Gea, Dalot, Smalling, Lindelof, Darmian, Herrera, Matic, Rashford, Lingard, Young, Lukaku.

LATE CHANGE FOR UNITED - Word just coming through that Chris Smalling will not start and instead, it’s Eric Bailly at the back for United.

Anfield is hopping and here come the players. Let’s hope that this is a bit better than some of the underwhelming dross we’ve seen between these two teams in recent seasons.

One note on the Liverpool bench: 20-year-old Dubliner Conor Masterson, who was part of the first-team squad this week, does not make the matchday subs.

KICK OFF: We’re underway at Anfield with United attacking the Kop end in the first half.


A bit of ping-pong early on, and van Dijk shepherds the ball away from Lukaku and safely back to Alisson. At the other end,  Salah turns Young inside out but Firmino’s shot is blocked.


UNITED HAVE THE BALL IN THE NET — but it’s offside, and a moment that really sums up Romelu Lukaku’s season to this point. Young whips in a free and Lukaku — who is a yard offside — swings at it and completely misses. The ball bounces all the way through into Alisson’s net but because Lukaku tried to play the ball, the offside flag is up and Liverpool breathe.


Good save from de Gea who stops Firmino’s effort. Salah goes to ground in the aftermath, and the home fans make their voices heard, but Martin Atkinson is having none of it. At the opposite end, Rashford tests Alisson with a sighter but it’s comfortable.


Frantic stuff here. Lindelof tries to play the ball out from the back and succumbs to the Liverpool press, with Fabinho’s shot taking a touch before going behind from a corner. Young clears off the line and United regroup.



Again, United give the ball away easily as they try to bring it out — Herrera the culprit this time. Fabinho blazes high and wide from 20 yards out.


Liverpool are swarming United at the minute and it’s all one-way traffic. Bailly half-clears the danger with a diving header on the edge of the box and then Firmino has a go, but again fails to hit the target.


A slight lull in the wave after wave of red pressure. Robertson has a chance with a corner but it’s poor and fails to beat the first man.

Flag 24Mins

GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United (Mane, 24′)

LIVERPOOL LEAD – and it’s a magnificently worked opener. United switch off at the back for a moment and Fabinho clips the most perfectly measured pass onto the chest on Mane. On the run, he kills it and then finishes through the legs of de Gea. Not an easy finish by any means but he made it look simple.

That’s been coming, you have to admit.



Oh, could have been 2-0 to Liverpool! Dalot is booked and it gives Robertson an opportunity with a free from the left. The initial delivery isn’t cleared properly and when Firmino turns it back in, Lovren has a great chance but is just off balance.


On Sky, Gary Neville has just compared Manchester United to a plate of spaghetti bolognese that’s a little bit all over the place, and we’re really not sure why that was the description he reached for…


Here’s the Liverpool opener. What a ball from Fabinho:

Flag 33Mins

GOAL FOR MANCHESTER UNITED! Liverpool 1-1 Manchester United (Lingard, 33′)

UNITED ARE LEVEL! My days, what an absolute gift from Alisson! It should be a routine stop for the Liverpool keeper who goes to ground to cut out a simple cross from Lukaku, and spills it. Jesse Lingard is right there and doesn’t need to be asked twice to stab it home. For all of Liverpool’s dominance, their lead has only lasted nine minutes and now they’re back to square one.


Lukaku throws himself after a loose ball and crunches Keita. They both stay down for a moment, and when the Belgian eventually gets back to his feet, he’s booked by Martin Atkinson.


Firmino cynically stops a United counter-attack and can count himself very fortunate not to end up in the book.


Via the BBC, which just goes to show that you can use stats to prove anything:

Alisson has made as many errors leading to goals in the Premier League this season as Mignolet last season (2).


Into the last minute of the 45 here and Liverpool have a corner as Fabhino’s shot takes a touch before going behind. Again, though, Robertson’s delivery is poor.


Two additional minutes to play here…


Mane tries to sneak in behind the United back four but he’s strayed a yard offside. De Gea did well to stop him with an outstretched leg in any event.


All square at the break, somehow. We’ll be back in five.


Liverpool going right back at it from the off. Nathaniel Clyne skips forward on the overlap and gladly takes Mohamed Salah’s pass inside the box, however Ashley Young diligently tracked his run and forced Clyne out of play.


Immediate pressure back on Man United here as Klopp’s men commit men forward and apply pressure in the final third. Nothing but a win will do for the hosts this evening if they are to reclaim top spot in the Premier League.


Ander Herrera receives some boos and hollers from the home crowd for a foul on Mo Salah. The Spaniard went for the ball, but his execution fell foul of referee Martin Atkinson. The ball is swung into the box, but easily batted away at the first hurdle by Eric Bailly.


Save! A brilliant stop from David De Gea denies Roberto Firmino what would have been an exceptional individual goal. The Brazilian dodged challenges like he was swatting off house flies left and right before toe-poking a low effort trundling towards the bottom corner. De Gea read it and got down low good and early to bat it away. A fine stop.

Britain Soccer Premier League Source: Rui Vieira


Amid all that madness inside the box, Eric Bailly went down injured. The centre back took a knock as Firmino dribbled this way and that, going off to receive treatment before coming back on ready to go again.


Nathaniel Clyne has one go from distance and then another. One flies over the crossbar and the other, well, balloons well wide of the target. God loves a trier, you might say.


It really is just all Liverpool at the moment, but you do have to commend Lindelof, Bailly and Darmian because they really and truly are putting in a shift to keep it level pegging. Frustration is slowly beginning to creep in now, as the hosts can’t convert all this possession into a goal.


Salah scuffs a corner along the ground to a chorus of groans but Van Dijk’s shot takes a deflection and Liverpool will have another chance. United deal with that one just as easily as well.


Vital intervention from Andy Robertson. Fellaini was steaming in at the back post to meet Ashley Young’s cross, and Robertson just did enough to nick it away with a timely header.


It’s all gone a little bit Keystone Cops here for Liverpool. Firmino eventually hacks clear from under Rashford’s nose – fortunate, maybe, not to be penalised for a very high foot.


Martin Atkinson in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets in the way of a United attack. Liverpool counter and, thankfully for the ref, Herrera cuts out Mane’s pass.


Young stretches out a trailing leg to stop Mane’s shot. Wijnaldum follows up and drives a shot through the crowd, but De Gea gets his body behind it.


Liverpool sub: Naby Keita takes his leave, and Xherdan Shaqiri is the man on in his place.


It opens up for Fabinho and he drills a shot from all of 30 yards. It would need to be special to beat De Gea but it’s straight down the middle and at a nice height for the goalkeeper.

Flag 73Mins

GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United (Shaqiri, 73′)

Instant impact from Shaqiri – Liverpool finally have the lead again! The Monday morning review session might not be all that pleasant for Ander Herrera. He gets badly isolated, and then skinned by Mane, who puts the ball across the face of De Gea’s goal. It’s deflected, and chaos ensues, before it falls to Shaqiri who — with the help of a huuuuge deflection off Ashley Young’s heel — drives one off the underside of the crossbar and in.


As it stands, Liverpool are heading back to the top of the Premier League. But will there be another twist in the tale?



Manchester United sub: Anthony Martial is on to replace Ander Herrera.

Flag 80Mins

GOAL FOR LIVERPOOL! Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United (Shaqiri, 80′)

Shaqiri again! What an incredible impact! Another huge deflection — this time off Eric Bailly — and De Gea has no chance. Anfield is bouncing!


144 seconds: that’s the amount of time between Shaqiri making his entrance and the goal which changed this game. Jurgen Klopp might well be pleased with himself.


Manchester United sub: Mata comes on for Lingard.

Just before that, Jordan Henderson came on to replace Sadio Mane.



Into the last minute of the 90 here and Liverpool — and their fans — are enjoying themselves.


The ball falls to Jordan Henderson in the box and he puts it wide. Even that gets a bit of a cheer from the home fans. It’s been that kind of day.


“Don’t sack Mourinho” is the refrain from the Anfield fans as we enter the first of three additional minutes.


Here’s the first of the Shaqiri goals:


Liverpool return to the top of the league… and Jurgen Klopp is loving it. There are now a massive 19 points between his side and Mourinho’s in sixth, not to mention a first defeat for Mourinho at Anfield since 2007.

Maybe more worrying for United is the gap between themselves and Chelsea in fourth place — that stands at 11 points following today’s games.

A huge week for Liverpool ends with their place in the Champions League last 16 secured and a return to the top of the Premier League. If they can beat Wolves on Friday night, it will be a very happy Christmas indeed for the Reds.

That’s all for now but we’ll have more reaction over the course of the evening.

Thanks for reading!

About the author:

Niall Kelly


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