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Liverpool fail to go top of the Premier League after draw with Manchester United

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Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrating his equaliser from the penalty spot during the 2-2 English Premier League draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford on April 7. PHOTO: REUTERS

Liverpool failed to return to the top of the table with after a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford as rivals Manchester United did their bit to try and derail the Reds’ quest to send off Jurgen Klopp with an English Premier League title, which would put Liverpool level with United on 20 league crowns.

They are behind Arsenal on goal difference, with both teams locked on 71 points. Champions Manchester City are a further point adrift.

It was an end to end start to the match on April 7 with the home team having a goal by Alejandro Garnacho disallowed after two minutes after the Argentinian strayed just offside.

From then on though, all the action in the first 45 minutes came at the opposite end as United failed to register a shot. The last time they did not record a shot in the first half of a Premier League game was in April 2022, during a 4-0 defeat by the Reds.

The last time that happened at Old Trafford was in October 2015, when they drew 0-0 against City.

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Liverpool, meanwhile, had 15 first-half shots, four of them on target as the Red Devils continued their tendency to allow opponents to pepper their goal with shots. Before the game on April 7, the Red Devils had faced 526 shots in the Premier League, more than any other time in the 20 full seasons since Opta began keeping records.

While United have suffered from injury issues all season, which saw them start with three teenagers in a Premier League match against Liverpool for the first time, there was no shortage of experience on the pitch in the likes of Raphael Varane, Casemiro and Harry Maguire.

The Reds opened the scoring on 23 minutes when Darwin Nunez escaped the attentions of Aaron Wan-Bissaka from a corner and headed the ball on to an unmarked Luis Diaz, who finished past Andre Onana.

It was the Uruguayan striker’s 13th assist this term, more than any other Premier League player.

The Reds should have, however, gone into the break with more than a one-goal lead as only Onana kept the Reds in the game with saves from the likes Dominik Szoboszlai and Mohamed Salah.

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It was a similar story to the teams’ FA Cup quarter-final clash in March, when United took advantage of the Reds’ profligacy to sneak a 4-3 win.

And so it seemed again at the start of the second half on April 7, when United scored with their first shot of the match.

Bruno Fernandes pounced on a loose pass by Jarell Quansah just inside the Liverpool half in the 50th minute and launched a first-time shot over a stranded Caoimhin Kelleher for his 50th Premier League goal.

Indeed, the Red Devils could take have taken a shock lead minutes with their second shot but a flying Casemiro just failed to get a boot on a cross into the box.

Liverpool’s second-half nightmare continued on 67 minutes when Kobbie Mainoo received a pass into box by Wan-Bissaka with his back to goal and proceeded to swivel and launch a lovely curling shot into the top corner of Kelleher’s goal.

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He became the first 18-year-old to score in the Premier League against Liverpool since Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal in May 2005, and became the Red Devils’ youngest scorer against Liverpool in the Premier League.

But as it was in the defeat by Chelsea in midweek, United conceded a needless late penalty after Wan-Bissaka brought Harvey Elliott down in the box.

Salah stepped up and scored from the spot, his sixth goal at Old Trafford, more than any other player in Premier League history.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Anthony Martial confirms departure from Manchester United

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Manchester United forward Anthony Martial will leave the club when his contract expires at the end of June, the Frenchman said on May 27.

The 28-year-old arrived at Old Trafford from AS Monaco in 2015 and has since scored 90 goals in 317 games for the Red Devils.

The departure was expected, as he had struggled with injuries in recent seasons and had not been in the squad for months.

He not in the team for the 2-1 FA Cup final victory against Manchester City on May 25.

“It’s with great emotion that I write to you today to say goodbye. After nine incredible years at the club, the time has come for me to turn a new page in my career,” he said on Instagram.

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“You have been an unwavering support, through the good times and the difficult. Your passion and loyalty have been a constant source of motivation for me.”

French defender Raphael Varane also stated he would leave United earlier in May.

-Reuters

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Thomas Tuchel believes he’s new Man Utd manager

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Former PSG, Chelsea and Bayern Munich manager, Thomas Tuchel who is one of those being touted as possible replacement for sack-threatened Erik ten Hag has spoken out that he believes he will be Manchester United next manager.

According to different sources in Europe, the 50-year old German  reckons he is already nailed on for the job.

Hag who led Manchester United to a dramatic FA Cup win over city rivals, Manchester United on Saturday will officially learn his fate in the coming week.

Reports in Germany claim that theTuchel turned down the chance to remain in charge of Bayern Munich  because he wants another crack at the English Premier League by succeeding Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.

Bayern announced that Tuchel was leaving the club after it became clear that Bayer Leverkusen would be crowned Bundesliga champions. But the Bavarian club then decided to perform a U-turn by offering to hand him a new contract to stay in charge.

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They were shocked when Tuchel turned down the proposal – and the suggestion in Munich is that he believes United have identified him as the man to replace Ten Hag.

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Premier League breaks new scoring record after last-day goal spree

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Premier League - Manchester City v West Ham United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - May 19, 2024 Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne and teammates celebrate with the trophy after winning the Premier League REUTERS/Molly Darlington

Thirty seven goals hit the back of Premier League nets in Sunday’s finale making it officially the highest-scoring season since the competition started in 1992.

The 380 matches produced 1,246 goals at more than three per game — eclipsing the previous best of 1,222 in the inaugural Premier League season when there were two extra clubs.

Manchester City topped the scoring charts as they won an unprecedented fourth title in succession, their 3-1 victory over West Ham United on Sunday taking their tally to 96.

Runners-up Arsenal managed 91 with Liverpool 86 and Newcastle United their best-ever Premier League haul of 85.

Bottom club Sheffield United concluded the season with a 3-0 home defeat by Tottenham Hotspur, meaning they conceded 104 in the campaign — a Premier League record.

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-Reuters

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