Xherdan Shaqiri takes on Nemanja Matic and Matteo Darmian

Liverpool 3 Manchester United 1

Sunday 16 December 2018 18:15

Manchester United suffered a first Premier League defeat at Anfield for five years, as Jurgen Klopp's side triumphed through two deflected second-half strikes from Xherdan Shaqiri.

Sadio Mane gave the Merseyside club the lead in the 24th minute, only for Jesse Lingard to equalise for United 12 minutes before the break.

Jose Mourinho's men defended stoutly for much of the second period, with David De Gea in typically superlative form. But Shaqiri's introduction sparked two goals in eight minutes for Liverpool, to send them back to the top of the table with a one-point advantage over Manchester City.
Sadio Mane fires past De Gea to give Liverpool the lead.
United began resolutely in front of a buoyant Anfield crowd, with Marcus Rashford's powerful run down the left earning an early free-kick.
Ashley Young whipped the ball in and found the far bottom corner of Alisson's net, but the linesman adjudged Romelu Lukaku to be in an interfering offside position when failing to connect with the cross.
It was to be the visitors' best moment of the first 30 minutes, as the hosts dialled up the intensity with a flurry of early corners and potshots.
Firmino tested De Gea with a speculative left-footed drive from around 20 yards out, but the Spaniard palmed away well to his left, before Fabinho saw an effort from similar range deflected narrowly wide.
Just as United appeared to have escaped the opening stages with parity assured, a clever chip from Fabinho found Sadio Mane inside the penalty area. The Sengalese forward calmly chested the ball down and fired past a helpless De Gea with a swish of his left foot, sending Anfield into raptures.
Lovren should have made it 2-0 minutes later, but the Croatian international couldn't keep down his somewhat reckless attempt down from six yards out.
But just as the Merseysiders looked to be rediscovering the blistering momentum they showed in the opening 20 minutes, out of nowhere came United's most fluent passage of play so far.
Neat interplay between Herrera and Jesse Lingard in midfield gave Romelu Lukuku the opportunity to cross from the left of the Liverpool box. His promising low centre should have been easily collected by Alisson, but the Brazilian spilled the ball straight into Lingard's path, and the Warrington-born Academy graduate stooped to turn the ball home, to the joy of the boisterous away fans in the Anfield Road End.
United approached half-time with renewed confidence and security, with Herrera shooting from range and Lingard and Rashford finding promising bits of space in front of the Liverpool backline.
Jesse Lingard wheels away to celebrate with Diogo Dalot after levelling the score.
Mourinho introduced Marouane Fellaini into his midfield at the interval, with right-back Diogo Dalot going off as United switched to a back four.

Lingard moved to the right flank and Marcus Rashford produced some fine play down the left to skip past Virgil Van Dijk but he couldn't find anyone with his cross. At the other end, De Gea repelled Firmino's low toed effort.
The home side were enjoying huge spells of possession, but struggling to pierce United's stubborn defence. Van Dijk found space on the edge of the area, but his swiped shot was diverted wide by Fellaini. In a rare outbreak, Young and Rashford linked well to look for Fellaini at the back post, but a superb header by Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson denied the diving Belgian substitute a chance to score.
Shaqiri celebrates after restoring Liverpool's lead with his first goal.
Klopp introduced Shaqiri with 20 minutes to go, and within minutes the Swiss forward had put Liverpool back into the lead. Mane weaved past Herrera on the left of the United box and when his deflected low cross was flicked away from goal by De Gea, Shaqiri's shot was deflected off Young and flew high towards United's no. 1, eventually falling unkindly off the crossbar and behind the line.
United looked to respond, first through Lingard - whose shot skewed high above Alisson's stanchion - and then via the industry of Herrera, who burst forward to cross from the edge of the area, only to find nobody attacking the back post inside the box.

However, the hosts doubled their advantage through Shaqiri with ten minutes remaining, when Firmino's flick found the diminutive no.23 free outside the area. His shot took a huge deflection off Bailly, giving De Gea no chance.

United tried to rally, with Fellaini shooting wide, but the hosts controlled much of the last few minutes, as Anfield delighted in a return to the top of the Premier League pile.


Liverpool: Alisson, Clyne, Van Dijk, Lovren, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita (Shaqiri 70); Mane (Henderson 84), Salah, Firmino.
Subs not used: Mignolet, Camacho, Moreno, Lallana, Sturridge.
Scorers: Mane 24, Shaqiri 73, 80
United: De Gea; Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof; Dalot (Fellaini 45), Matic, Herrera (Martial 79), Young; Rashford, Lingard (Mata 85); Lukaku.
Subs not used: Romero, Jones, Valencia, Pogba.
Scorer: Lingard 33
Booked: Dalot, Lukaku
Referee: Martin Atkinson.
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