Fired-up Zlatan rescues United

CRUCIAL GOAL: Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring the equaliser in their English Premier League clash with fierce rivals Liverpool yesterday Picture: AFP
CRUCIAL GOAL: Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring the equaliser in their English Premier League clash with fierce rivals Liverpool yesterday
Picture: AFP

Late header snatches draw, while Everton crush Man City

Zlatan Ibrahimovic delivered his most important goal yet for Manchester United as he sent Old Trafford wild with his 19th of the season in all competitions to salvage a 1-1 draw with fierce rivals Liverpool yesterday.

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 Premier League win – until the irrepressible Swede struck with an 84th-minute header.

The draw put Liverpool into third spot, alongside secondplaced Tottenham on 45 points, but left Chelsea seven points ahead of the pack after 21 games.

United, who saw 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.

United manager Jose 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 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.

“We would like to win every game, of course, to close the gap. We haven’t lost a game in 15 or 16 and we are there,” he told Sky Sports.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp felt his men deserved the three points. “But we’ll take the one,” he said.

Pogba, challenging Dejan Lovren in the box, was penalised for handling Milner’s corner, not the first time the world’s most expensive player was exposed in defence.

“Lovren is good in the air and Paul had difficulties with him,” Jose Mourinho said.

Milner made no mistake from the spot, scoring against United for a fourth different club after previously being their scourge at Newcastle United, Aston Villa and Manchester City.

Meanwhile, Manchester City’s Premier League title hopes were delivered a grievous blow when Everton’s inspired Romelu Lukaku and teenagers Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman made it another crushing afternoon for Pep Guardiola.

The Spaniard suffered his biggest-ever defeat, 4-0, in league football after they had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and chances but paid for sloppy defending.

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