Late Lallana strike rescues point for Liverpool at Old Trafford after VAR controversy
Premier League, Old Trafford – Manchester United 1 (Rashford 36) Liverpool 1 (Lallana 85)
Adam Lallana came off the bench to rescue a point as Liverpool's 100 per cent start to the league season came to an end following a 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The midfielder has struggled to make an impact for the Merseysiders in recent times, but provided a reminder of what he can offer with a simple tap-in five minutes from the end to notch for the first time since May 2017.
It was harsh on United, who had been the better side for long spells. Marcus Rashford grabbed a controversial opener on 36 minutes when he tucked home Daniel James's superb cross after Victor Lindelof had appeared to foul Divock Origi in the build up.
Despite a VAR check, the goal stood and Jurgen Klopp was left fuming even more just before the interval when Sadio Mane had a strike chalked off following a review for a hand ball.
The visitors will point to issues with VAR, but in truth they were far from their best and clearly missed the injured Mohamed Salah in attack. They never looked like equalling Manchester City's record run of 18 consecutive league wins but will be content with a fortunate draw that leaves them six points clear at the summit.
As for United, the performance was the perfect tonic for the under-fire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but once again they failed to see it out from a winning position, leaving them down in 13th spot. The Norwegian will point to positives but his detractors will make him well aware that this is their worst start to a league season since 1986-87.
Both sides will now focus on non-domestic affairs, with Liverpool visiting Genk in the Champions League and United away to Partizan Belgrade in the Europa League.
Liverpool's winning run ends, but it could yet be a big point. Liverpool will no doubt lament the impact of VAR, but the reality is their disjointed display was the major culprit as to why they struggled at Old Trafford once again. Yes, you can argue Lindelof caught Origi before James crossed for Rashford's goal, but Klopp and Co had been second best up to that juncture and couldn't really argue with being behind. Many pundits have suggested a 0-0 draw here last term was pivotal in handing Man City an edge in a title race of few blips, and Klopp may well have privately rued not going for the jugular. It was deja vu again here, but this will feel very different. This is more like a lucky escape rather than a missed opportunity. United clearly enjoy rising to such an occasion and are unbeaten in seven home matches against Liverpool, losing just one of 11 league meetings. The Merseysiders will dust themselves down and hope to maintain a significant lead at the top in matches at home to Spurs and away to Aston Villa before welcoming Man City in what will be a key clash on November 10th.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Daniel James (Man United). The young Welshman once again showed why he has been a rare positive in a tough start for United. Gave Liverpool's defence an anxious time as he combined with Rashford throughout. Chipped in with an assist and is becoming a real crowd favourite.
MAN UTD: De Gea 6, Wan-Bissaka 7, Young 6, Rojo 6, Lindelof 7, Maguire 7, Fred 7, Pereira 7, McTominay 7, James 8, Rashford 8. Subs: Martial n/a, Williams n/a.
LIVERPOOL: Alisson 6, Alexander-Arnold 6, Matip 7, Van Dijk 6, Robertson 7, Fabinho 6, Henderson 6, Wijnaldum 6, Mane 6, Firmino 6, Origi 5. Subs: Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Lallana 7, Keita n/a.
34' - LIVERPOOL CHANCE. Big opportunity for the visitors. Mane surges into space down the right. He wastes little time feeding Firmino in the area, but the Brazilian's first-time shot is far too tame and easy for De Gea.
36' - GOAL! Man Utd 1-0 Liverpool. The hosts lead. James escapes down the right and sends in an exquisite cross for Rashford to tuck in from close range. Liverpool are fuming as they feel there was a foul in the build up - but the goal stands following a VAR check.
44' - LIVERPOOL GOAL RULED OUT. Mane takes a ball down with a touch off his arm. He battles past Lindelof and fires beyond De Gea. It's initially given - but VAR chalks it off.
67' - MAN UTD CHANCE. United show they remain dangerous on the counter attack as Rashford drives towards goal and fizzes a low strike just wide of Alisson's right-hand post.
83' - MAN UTD CHANCE. Fred lets fly from 20 yards but sees his lovely effort drift just wide of the far post.
85' - GOAL! Man Utd 1-1 Liverpool. The visitors level out of the blue! Lallana ghosts in unmarked at the far post to tap home Robertson's low cross.
90+2' - LIVERPOOL CHANCE. The Ox rifles another low drive inches wide from 20 yards out.
Eleven of Marcus Rashford's 31 Premier League goals have come against 'big six' opponents (35%).
Manchester United have not lost a league home game after leading at half-time since May 1984 (1-2 vs Ipswich).
Manchester United registered their second lowest possession figure in a Premier League home game since 2003-04, second only to a 32.06% figure also against Liverpool in March 2018.
Ole Gunnar Solskjær is the only manager Jürgen Klopp has faced more than once in the Premier League and failed to beat (P2 W0 D2).
No side has dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League this season than Manchester United (8, level with Aston Villa).
No defender has provided more Premier League assists since the start of last season than Andrew Robertson (14, level with Trent Alexander-Arnold).