EPL: Liverpool, Manchester United battle to dour draw at Anfield

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker made two vital saves as the champions were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Premier League leaders Manchester United at Anfield on Monday (NZ time).

It was the third game in the last five between the clubs at Anfield that has ended goalless and will have left many frustrated but United will be happy to remain top of the league and with a three-point advantage over their North West rivals.

Alisson saved a close-range effort from Bruno Fernandes, United's first real chance, in the 75th minute with his feet denying the Portuguese midfielder.

United striker Marcus Rashford broke down the left and played in overlapping full-back Luke Shaw who cleverly cut the ball back to Fernandes and his side-footed effort found the target but he was denied by the Brazilian keeper.

Then Alisson did well to keep out a blast from inside the box by Paul Pogba who was picked out by Aaron Wan-Bissaka in the inside-right slot and lashed a snap-shot goalwards which the Liverpool keeper showed great reflexes to deal with.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United side finished what was a disappointing game the stronger but the Norwegian felt his team could have taken all three points.

"It was an opportunity missed with the chances we had but then again we were playing a very good side," he said.

"I'm disappointed but still a point is OK if you win the next one."

The result leaves United on 37 points, two ahead of second-placed Leicester City, while Juergen Klopp's Liverpool side are third on 34 points after 18 games.

Liverpool created little with United keeper David De Gea having just one save to make after the break, a long-range shot from Thiago Alcantara that was hit straight at the Spaniard.

It was the third straight game in which Liverpool's usually prolific strike force has failed to score and Klopp will be concerned that his side created few openings for the forwards.

Injuries meant Liverpool had to field midfielders Fabinho and Jordan Henderson in the centre of the defence and they coped well, keeping Rashford and Anthony Martial quiet for long periods.

John Stones of Manchester City celebrates scoring the first goal.
John Stones of Manchester City celebrates scoring the first goal. Photo credit: Getty

Liverpool stretched their unbeaten home record to 68 games while United remain unbeaten away this season. 

Meanwhile, Manchester City have steamed into second place, with defender John Stones scoring an unlikely double in a 4-0 demolition of visiting Crystal Palace.

Central defender Stones, closing in on 100 Premier League appearances for City, headed his first league goal for the club after a sublime cross by Kevin de Bruyne in the 26th minute.

Ilkay Gundogan curled in a delightful second 11 minutes after the interval, before Stones was in the right place to fire home a loose ball with his left foot in the 68th minute.

Raheem Sterling crowned a superb second-half City display with an unstoppable free kick into the top corner late on.