Player ratings as Manchester United draw at home to Liverpool thanks to Ibrahimovic header

Manchester United and Liverpool drew for the second time this season in a scrappy encounter at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho fielded a strong XI knowing that win would take them close with local rivals Manchester City.

The game got off to a scrappy start with Manchester United threatening first as Paul Pogba squandered a good chance shooting just wide of Simon Mignolet's goal. A handball in the box just minutes later from the Frenchman gave James Milner the chance to put the away side into the lead. Milner confidently beat David De Gea from 12 yards and left the red devils facing an uphill task to turn their nine game winning streak into ten.

A change in tactics in the second half left the Liverpool defence facing an aerial bombardment as United relied on the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to win battles against the reds defence. This approach eventually paid off as Mourinho brought on former Everton man Marouane Fellaini to cause further problems to Jurgen Klopp's team and United equalised through a looping header from talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic making sure that the red devils remained unbeaten in the Premier League since the 4-0 thrashing they suffered at Chelsea in October.

Player Ratings

David De Gea – 8

The Spaniard was close to saving James Milner’s penalty. Made good saves throughout but wasn’t really challenged during the course of the game.

Antonio Valencia – 8

Provided the vital assist for Zlatan Ibramhimovic’s late equaliser. The bulky full-back got up and down the right wing with ease and wasn’t called upon often in defence.

Phil Jones – 7

A steady game for the Englishman who was preferred to over Chris Smalling. Jones made a few good challenges and stepped into midfield when pressing for the equaliser.

Marcos Rojo – 7

The Argentinian began the game shakily with a few mistimed clearances allowing the Liverpool attack to press the Manchester United goal. Brightened up in the second half when United generally improved after a lacklustre first period.

Matteo Darmian – 6.5

A questionable starter in Jose Mourinho’s XI given the naturally left footed full-back Daley Blind was on the bench. The former Torino man looked uncomfortable on the ball throughout and failed to combine with Anthony Martial in attack.

Ander Herrera – 8

One of the best performers of the first half with everything going through the ball winning midfielder. The 27 year old commanded the midfield and replaced Micheal Carrick as the deep-lying midfielder when the England International was substituted at Half-Time. Herrera won eight tackles during the game, more than anyone else on the pitch.

Micheal Carrick – 6

Not the right type of game for the veteran midfielder. Liverpool's high intensity and pressing didn’t allow the 35 year old to dictate play as he has done in recent weeks. Substituted at half time in order to improve the intensity of the red devils football.

Paul Pogba – 5

An awful performance from the Frenchman who recently celebrated the release of his own hashtag. The world record signing gave away the penalty through a bizarre handball which looked more like an attempted dab rather than a header. Pogba failed to make his mark on the game at all and the game drifted past him with foes Jordan Henderson and Emre Can dominating the Old Trafford academy product.

Henrikh Mkyhitarayan – 7.5

The Armenian worked tirelessly throughout the game and had a good chance saved by the opposing goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. Klopp’s former star at Borussia Dortmund was moved to left back during the closing stages of the game as United chased an equaliser and didn’t put a foot wrong with the pacey winger often causing Liverpool’s defence problems.

Anthony Martial – 7

Started the game well and looked as if he was going to torment young full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold. However, Liverpool stifled the threat of the former Monaco man by surrounding the tricky winger as soon as he picked up the ball. The Frenchman looked a threat throughout but cut a frustrated figure when he was replaced by Juan Mata midway through the second half.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic- 8

The Swedish striker bagged his 10th goal in 10 appearances with a smart header to beat the outstretched hand of keeper Simon Mignolet. This seasons now joint top scorer was dangerous in the air winning a number of aerial duels against Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan allowing the reds to bring the ball down in the final third. For all his efforts the veteran striker looked isolated throughout as a scrappy performance from the side didn’t help the iconic talismans efforts to win the game.

Substitutes

Wayne Rooney – 7.5

The skipper was brought on at Half time to bring some inspiration in the side as the Liverpool born forward attempted to improve on his sides first half performance. Rooney went close on one occasion but his limp shot went just wide of the Liverpool goal as he edges closer to braking club legend Sir Bobby Charlton’s long standing goal record.

Juan Mata – 6.5

The Spaniard was the creative spark that the game was crying out for from United’s point of view though United’s long ball approach affected the influence the playmaker could have on the game.

Marouane Fellaini – 8

The Belgain midfielder who is seen as a marmite figure at the club carried out his role brilliantly when brought on as Jose Mourinho’s last roll of the dice. Chosen ahead of Marcus Rashford to grab a goal the approach to the game suited the midfielder’s game fittingly. The former Everton man hit the bar in the build up to Ibrahimovic’s equaliser as he dominated in the air. 

VAVEL Logo