The Verdict: Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool

Stephen Killen

MUFC XI: Henderson, AWB, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Pogba, Greenwood, Van de Beek, Rashford, Cavani.
LFC XI: Liverpool: Alisson, TAA, Williams, Fabinho, Robertson, Wijnaldum, Thiago, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Jones.
Goals: 25′ Greenwood,48′ Rashford, 78′ Fernandes; 18′, 58′ Salah.
Utd Subs: 66′ Fernandes & Fred (on for van de Beek & Greenwood), 86′ Martial (on for Rashford)
LFC Subs: 62′ Mane (on for Wijnaldum), 80′ Origi & Shaqiri (on for Firmino & Thiago)
Bookings: 88′ Lindelof, 92′ Pogba; 42′ Fabinho, 69′ Mane

Read Time:4 Minute, 30 Second

Bruno Fernandes’ late free-kick knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in a well contested Fourth Round match.

The Reds took the lead as Mohammed Salah ended the Reds’ goalless drought after 18 minutes with a beautiful deft chip However, parity was soon restored when Greenwood equalised.

A mistake from Rhys Williams left Marcus Rashford through on goal, he made no mistake as he went one-on-one with Alisson.

Salah’s 112th Liverpool goal soon turned to 113 as he rounded off a brilliant flowing move.

But, United’s star man will steal all the headlines as he fired Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side into the Fifth Round.

An Even First Half

The partnership of Roberto Firmino and Salah flourished for the first goal, his defence splitting pass left Salah one on one and his lovely chip put the visitors in front.

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Liverpool’s lead was short-lived as Greenwood raced onto Marcus Rashford’s diagonal pass after it evaded James Milner and he found into the far corner.

Manchester United finished with a flurry of chances on the stroke of half-time.

Paul Pogba saw his free-kick sail over the bar before he curled wide after finding himself on the edge of the box with acres of space.

Liverpool Dominate to No Avail

United took the lead early in the second half, Rashford pounced on Rhys Williams’ mistake and put the Red Devils in front.

Milner came close to levelling after Firmino’s header deflected into his path but the outstretched veteran couldn’t keep his effort down.

Moments later, they were level. Firmino’s pass, dummied by Milner, fell to Salah who took one touch and fired through the legs of Dean Henderson.

Trent Alexander-Arnold nearly made it three but was denied by the United ‘keeper at his near post.

Firmino and Salah combined once more, the Brazilian threaded the Egyptian through again but Henderson halted his hopes of a hat-trick.

Bruno Fernandes’ free-kick put the hosts back in front as Alisson failed to cover his near side to which the Portugal international found accurately.

Edinson Cavani nearly put the icing on the cake but the woodwork denied his powerful downwards header.

Only the Premier League and the Champions League remain for the Reds after their FA Cup exit.

Liverpool Transfer Room Verdict

Following the game, we asked LFCTR Writers; Priyasha and Ritchie for their match reaction.

Ritchie’s Verdict (@Slack_9):

A bewildered Ritchie rued Liverpool’s defeat to the hands of their fierce rivals: “Losing to United will always hurt and that’s the case today.”

I don’t know what else needs to happen for Liverpool to buy a CB.

Ritchie added: “I feel for Williams and that mistake but it’s clear he is not (yet) ready for a full-time CB position. “

I hate losing to United, goals or not, it’s unforgivable

Priyasha’s Verdict (@lfcpriya11):

Priyasha was relieved to see an upturn in a run of terrible performances but certain decisions shocked her, she explained: “Slightly better performance, still out of the FA Cup.

“Rhys Williams desperately needs a loan move.”

Thankfully, less of the crosses. Back four were extremely shaky and Alisson. Bobby and Salah were sharp (ish) in comparison to the last few games.

Improvement was visible but still no results

Klopp’s decison to bring on Origi was shocking, in my opinion.”

“Onto Spurs.” She concluded.

Stephen’s Verdict (@SteKillenBL):

Still not good enough, not the Liverpool we know but the goal drought is over at least. The 15-year wait for the FA Cup continues, we need to start taking this competition more seriously.

Very disappointing to lose to United, improvement is needed, this is a very bitter pill to swallow.

Defensively we have to look back and wonder why we haven’t brought in a defender in the window.

No discredit to Fabinho’s work but we need him further forward, the experiment has failed Williams’ inexperience showed with the mistake but you can’t blame the youngster.

Bobby seemed to have some fire in his belly which was good to see and chipped in with an assist, nice to see Salah extend his tally for the season.

It would’ve been nice to end the 15-year wait for an FA Cup but it’s another early exit, Jurgen Klopp has still only advanced further than the fourth round just once during his time at Anfield.

StrengthsWeaknesses
Back amongst the goals but more importantly that Bobby & Salah link-up for the first goal.Susceptible to counter-attacks, we appear a lot more fragile to the counter. Burnley on Thursday, Utd today, Greenwood’s goal spanned from three passes from back to front.
Firmino’s press. He looked a man possessed at times, piling the pressure on the United backline. Free headers from corners. Luckily, out-swinging corners but in the first half, they had two free headers that looped over the bar.
Glimpses of confidence from the Reds. After weeks of poor performances, it was nice to see Liverpool advancing with swagger and creating clear-cut. chancesMistakes costly. First Milner missing the header and then Williams attempted clearance. We need defensive structure.
We need a centre-back, possibly even two.
Still not creating as many chances as we typically could but that wasn’t to be away from home.

Read more by Stephen Killen.

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