MANCHESTER, England — Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League by drawing 0-0 at Manchester United on Sunday in a lacklustre game featuring more injuries than outstanding chances.
United had to make three substitutions in the first 43 minutes alone — Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and substitute Jesse Lingard all hobbled off — while Liverpool also lost striker Roberto Firmino to injury in the first half.
"Everything that could have gone wrong in the first half went wrong," said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who also said Marcus Rashford played through an injury sustained in the first half.
Yet in a cagey match in which the teams’ top players failed to perform, United had less possession but ended up creating the best chances. Lingard was denied by Alisson Becker as he attempted to round the goalkeeper toward the end of the first half and Lukaku headed at Alisson moments later.
"We didn’t do well, to be honest," Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. "We take that. It is a point gained because we have one more than before, but it doesn’t feel like that.
"The boys didn’t feel OK. I could see it in their faces. It was strange. I was thinking, ‘What is going on here today?"’
It was the first goalless draw in the league at Old Trafford between England’s two most decorated teams since 1991, which is a year after Liverpool last won the title.
Liverpool is in a strong position to end that agonizing wait for the biggest trophy in English soccer after moving a point above Manchester City with 11 games left.
However, Liverpool has only won three of its last nine games in all competitions — a run that started with the 2-1 loss at City on Jan. 3.
It also might be without Firmino for some time, with the Brazil international leaving Old Trafford on crutches after having rolled his right ankle making a pass.
This was only the second league match in 10 under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that United has dropped points. Under the circumstances, it was a good point considering the first-half injuries and the fact that key midfielder Nemanja Matic was ruled out after picking up an injury in training on Friday.
Arsenal back in top 4 after win over Southampton
LONDON — Arsenal climbed into the Premier League’s top four with a 2-0 home win over Southampton on Sunday, leaving the visitors mired in the relegation zone.
Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored early goals for Arsenal, making for a comfortable afternoon against disjointed Southampton, which struggled badly to find any rhythm.
The loss leaves Southampton in 18th place, while Arsenal overtook Manchester United for fourth place and strengthened its chances of claiming a Champions League spot.
Lacazette could easily have had a hat trick by halftime as he forced two decent saves from Angus Gunn, blasted over from five yards out and had one shot blocked by a defender during a dominating spell for Arsenal.
But he did put his team ahead with a neat backheel finish after just six minutes, steering in a shot from Mkhitaryan that was heading wide. Replays suggested Lacazette may have been offside, but Arsenal also had a strong claim for a penalty seconds earlier when Lucas Torreira was hauled down in the box.
Lacazette had a hand in the second goal as well as his high press forced Southampton to turn the ball over. Alex Iwobi’s low cross was then deflected into the path of Mkhitaryan, who calmly scored the second goal in the 14th.
Arsenal manager Unai Emery again left Mesut Ozil on the bench until a late cameo, but Arsenal’s midfield dominated the game as Mkhitaryan, Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey frequently combined to provide a creative attacking spark that has often been lacking from the team in recent games.
Southampton did force two good saves from Bernd Leno in the first half and was nearly gifted a way back into the game when Granit Xhaka lofted a pass straight into the path of James Ward-Prowse, who let Arsenal off the hook by blasting his shot wide. But Southampton couldn’t produce anything that resembled its performance in a 3-2 home win that ended Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run in December.
Matt Targett nearly pulled a goal back late with a long-distance volley, but Leno punched the ball way at full stretch.