Liverpool came to defend, says Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said Liverpool had come to Old Trafford with the aim of stifling his side following Sunday’s 1-1 Premier League draw between the teams.

United, chasing a 10th successive win in all competitions, fell behind to James Milner’s first-half penalty and needed an 84th-minute Zlatan Ibrahimovic header to rescue a point.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are the league’s top scorers with 49 goals, but Mourinho claimed their approach against United showed a different side to their game.

“We were the team that attacked and Liverpool were the team that defended,” he told BBC Sport.

“Let’s see if the critics are fair. I enjoyed it, but I will obviously be disappointed we didn’t get the three points.

“They were clever. They took their time, they know how to play football and control the emotions of the game. They knew they would be in trouble in the final few minutes.” While Liverpool posed a steady threat on the counter-attack in the second half, United had the lion’s share of the play and duly levelled when Ibrahimovic looped in a header from Antonio Valencia’s cross.

“I have a problem with my neck because I was always looking to the left side,” Mourinho quipped, in a reference to the end United were attacking during the second half.

The result kept United in sixth place, four points off the Champions League places and 12 points adrift of leaders Chelsea.

Liverpool rose one place to third, finishing the weekend seven points below Chelsea and beneath second-place Tottenham Hotspur on goal difference.

Liverpool manager Klopp said his players had struggled to handle United’s “long balls” following the introduction of Marouane Fellaini, who headed against the post in the build-up to the equaliser.

He was also reluctant to be drawn on the suggestion United substitute Wayne Rooney was fortunate to avoid a card for a late challenge on Milner.

“How could I be surprised? I have the worst position in the stadium,” Klopp told his post-match press conference.

“If you are surprised, do me a favour: write it. For example, if it’s an ugly challenge, write it. Don’t make it a story of it when I say it.”

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