The Season Ticket
Football | United edge Liverpool in five-goal FA Cup thriller
Manchester United have inflicted more misery on Liverpool by eliminating the Premier League champions from the FA Cup after a five-goal thriller at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils prevailed 3-2 in a pulsating cup clash, with substitute Bruno Fernandes scoring the winning goal with a 20-yard free kick 12 minutes from time after Edinson Cavani was fouled on the edge of the area.
Liverpool entered the match in miserable form, having suffered their first home defeat in the league for nearly four years against Burnley on Thursday.
There was no sign of any form loss inside the opening eighteen minutes when Mohamed Salah gave the Reds the lead.
Roberto Firmino’s sublime pass found the Egyptian - who eluded the attention of Victor Lindelof - on the edge of the box, with Salah taking one touch before coolly chipping the ball over the advancing Dean Henderson.
Liverpool’s hard work was done for eight minutes later, after a quick break on the counter for United. Marcus Rashford collected the ball on the left flank and spotted Mason Greenwood’s run down the right.
Rashford picked out his teammate with a superb cross-field ball, and Greenwood showed great composure to take the ball on his chest and fire past Alisson to draw the hosts level.
An entertaining first half ended 1-1.
Within minutes of the restart United had turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead after Rashford capitalised on a mistake by Rhys Williams.
The teenage defender’s poor touch allowed Rashford to break through on goal, and the England international squeezed his shot past Alisson, who will feel he could have done better.
United’s lead lasted just 10 minutes.
Cavani surrendered possession with a loose pass in his own half, and Liverpool punished the Uruguayan ruthlessly.
James Milner played the ball to Firmino on the edge of the box, and cleverly let Firmino’s return pass roll to the onrushing Salah, who fired a low left-footed strike past Henderson from eight yards.
The tie was looking to be swinging in Liverpool’s favour as they began to dominate the middle third, carving their way through the United defence on numerous occasions. The best chance fell to Salah after he got goal side of Luke Shaw, but Henderson turned the attacker’s shot behind for a corner.
Once again, the Reds relentless pressure proved to be their downfall a slick one-two counterattack for United had Cavani almost through on goal, but in the process was fouled by Fabinho.
Up stepped United’s talisman Fernandes, who curled an excellent free kick into the far corner, with Alisson again looking suspect.
That was enough to see United progress to the fifth round where they will meet West Ham in two weeks’ time at Old Trafford. Liverpool - on the other hand - are now winless in their last three games with their last win coming against Aston Villa in the previous round of the FA Cup. Their last league win stretches back to December 19th when an on-form side hit Crystal Palace for seven.
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