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Man Utd Draw Feels Like Defeat For Liverpool In Title Race, Says Van Dijk

The draw leaves Liverpool behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference and just one point ahead of Manchester City with seven games remaining in the tightest of title races.


Manchester United’s English midfielder #37 Kobbie Mainoo (L) vies with Liverpool’s Dutch defender #04 Virgil van Dijk (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 7, 2024. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

 

Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk said a dramatic 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Sunday felt like a defeat after throwing away two points in the Premier League title race.

The visitors dominated the majority of the game but needed a Mohamed Salah penalty six minutes from time to avoid defeat after spectacular strikes from Bruno Fernandes and Kobbie Mainoo.

The draw leaves Liverpool behind leaders Arsenal on goal difference and just one point ahead of Manchester City with seven games remaining in the tightest of title races.

Despite United’s struggles this season, Liverpool have failed to beat Erik ten Hag’s men in three meetings this season.

United edged a thrilling FA Cup quarter-final 4-3 three weeks ago and emerged with a 0-0 draw at Anfield in December.

“It feels like a loss,” said Van Dijk. “It is our fault again.

“We had so many chances and we should finish the game off.”

Should the Reds fail to mark Jurgen Klopp’ final season in charge by winning a 20th English top-flight title, to match United’s record, they will look back on this day and wonder how they failed to win.

For Liverpool, it was a similar story from the FA Cup tie as they wasted a series of chances to extend their lead and ended up getting hit by the United sucker punch.

Liverpool finished the first half with 15 shots to United’s none.

Andre Onana produced one fine save to deny Dominik Szoboszlai but Liverpool were guilty of consistently letting the hosts off the hook.

Liverpool did lead 1-0 at half-time as Luis Diaz fired in Darwin Nunez’s header from a corner.

But Szoboszlai, Salah and Darwin Nunez were all wasteful in front of goal.

“Being 1-0 up at Old Trafford and having a 15-0 shooting stat is incredible,” said Klopp. “Besides that we could have been calmer or clearer in moments.

“Just stay calm. We are where we are and we keep giving it a proper go. Do I wish we had 10 points difference? Of course. We take what we got and keep going.”

Liverpool were stunned as the title race took another twist out of nowhere on 50 minutes.

Jarell Quansah’s slack pass went straight to Fernandes, who spotted Caoimhin Kelleher well off his line and lobbed the Irish goalkeeper from just inside the Liverpool half.

United suddenly had a fresh lease of life and went in front 23 minutes from time as Mainoo confirmed his status as a rising star of the Premier League.

– Mainoo Brilliance –

The 18-year-old has enjoyed a meteoric rise this season and produced the biggest moment of his career so far by curling into the top corner.

Klopp was incandescent on the touchline at his players for allowing Mainoo to get his shot off and immediately reacted by sending on Harvey Elliott and Cody Gakona.

Elliott was the man felled by an Aaron Wan-Bissaka lunge for the penalty and Salah kept his cool to score for the 14th time in 15 games against United.

But Liverpool failed to find a winner to hand Arsenal the advantage in the title race thanks to the Gunners’ nine-goal lead on goal difference.

A point also does little to aid United’s hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Ten Hag’s men are 11 points adrift of fourth-placed Aston Villa having blown late leads three times in the past eight days.

United’s new co-owner Jim Ratcliffe was in attendance and Ten Hag’s future as manager remains unclear going into next season.

“On one side I am disappointed that we have dropped seven points in one week after being in winning positions, but we have to blame ourselves for making stupid mistakes,” said Ten Hag.

“On the other side I am very proud. You see how we are improving and the potential of this squad is amazing.”

AFP