United were left heartbroken at White Hart Lane as Tottenham snatched a late equaliser just when it seemed the Reds had held out for a vital three points.
Only the league leaders' second draw of the season, it was sealed in agonising fashion so late in the game. Robin van Persie struck his 11th goal in as many games in the first half to put United in a commanding position as the clock ticked down on a hard-fought, entertaining but tense match. But Clint Dempsey struck, as the Reds so often do, in injury time with little time for a response.
In a fixture that often produces goals, it looked like being just van Persie's first-half header - his 22nd goal of the season - that would narrowly separate the two teams. United endured a nervous second half as Tottenham searched for an equaliser. Spurs will feel that a point was a fair reflection of the balance of play, but for Sir Alex Ferguson and his players the overriding feelings are of frustration and disappointment having been so close to the win.
The snow blanketing London had initially cast doubt on the game going ahead, but referee Chris Foy gave the green light after a pitch inspection an hour before kick-off. Even so, there was a significant dusting of snow on the turf until the White Hart Lane groundstaff worked to have it clear for kick-off. Regardless of the conditions, United were always bound to be in for a tough afternoon with Spurs the only side in the top four to take points off the Reds this season. That 3-2 defeat at Old Trafford back in September remains a source of frustration.
United retained 10 of the 11 starters against Liverpool as Phil Jones replaced the injured Ashley Young and took up a central midfield role. Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa both kept their places in the team, while Wayne Rooney took up a spot on the bench having made his return from injury in the midweek FA Cup replay win over West Ham.