16 Jan 2017

United, Liverpool draw as City slump

10:33 am on 16 January 2017

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late header secured a 1-1 draw against arch-rivals Liverpool in their Premier League clash at Old Trafford.

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

James Milner, so often a scourge of United, had silenced the home crowd with a 27th minute penalty as Liverpool seemed to be coasting with relative comfort to a crucial win until the irrepressible Swede struck with an 84th minute header.

The draw put Liverpool into third spot, alongside second-placed Tottenham on 45 points, but left Chelsea seven points ahead of the pack after 21 games, while United, who watched the end of their nine-match winning streak, remain sixth with 40 points.

It had looked as if it might be a miserable afternoon for the world's most expensive player, Frenchman Paul Pogba, who gave away the penalty with a clumsy handball, missed a golden opportunity to score and looked lost on defensive duty.

Mourinho brought on captain Wayne Rooney as a second half substitute, hoping he would break the club's scoring record but Liverpool, for whom Simon Mignolet made key saves, held United comfortably until Ibrahimovic's decisive late intervention.

Ibrahimovic, who scored his 11th league goal in as many matches, had to twist backwards to get power on a header from an Antonio Valencia cross to earn what he felt was a crucial point.

"We would like to win every game, of course, to close the gap even more but 1-1, we continue like this, we haven't lost a game in 15 or 16 and we are there," Ibrahimovic told Sky Sports.

"They stopped our run in terms of consecutive victories but they didn't stop our run of being unbeaten for a long time," added Mourinho. "That's what we had to do."

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp, though, felt his men had deserved the three points. "But we'll take the one," he added.

Earlier Manchester City's title hopes were dealt a blow by a 4-0 crushing at Everton.

City remain in fifth place.