Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool: 4 Things We Learned
Manchester United knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup in a clash filled with goals – unlike the two side’s dull affair a week ago.
Mo Salah compensated for his recent drought by getting two goals for the away outfit, but the Reds’ defence failed to cope with the Red Devils’ attacking fire-power. Even Alisson, who made two heroic saves at Anfield, was powerless to stop Bruno Fernandes’ winning goal.
1. Inconsistent Defence
Liverpool’s defensive frailties can be excused owing to an injury crisis that Jurgen Klopp is facing. But some inconsistent moments from the United defence tonight will worry Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, especially the one in the 18th minute.
Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw were solid for the most part of the game, but they switched off and allowed Roberto Firmino to pick Salah, who dinked the ball over Dean Henderson and into the net.
2. Good day for the Attackers
The only positive Klopp can take from this fixture was that the Egyptian forward managed to find his goal-scoring touch with a brace. The opening goal was Liverpool’s first of the new year – an uncharted scenario for a team with one of Europe’s best attacking trios.
Match-winner Bruno Fernandes also ended his own dry spell of three games – which is unusual for the Portuguese, who has scored more goals than any other player for Premier League clubs since his debut.
Most importantly for the United faithful, Mason Greenwood kept his cool to slot home after struggling in front of goal of late.
3. Paul Pogba – Man of the Match
Fernandes came off the bench in the second-half and stole the show with a powerful free-kick past the Liverpool goalkeeper, but it’s vital to note Pogba’s contribution, especially his work off the ball, that never allowed Thiago and Wijnaldum to settle in the middle of the park.
The Frenchman didn’t got on the score-sheet himself, but started the counter-attack for the equaliser by pressing and recovering possession from an opposition player around his own penalty area.
4. Another day, another Ole win
For the Norwegian, tonight’s ‘win’ at Old Trafford isn’t just about taking his side to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
The 3-2 victory over Liverpool was also United’s first success of the 2020/21 against a ‘Top Six’ club – a confidence booster for their next big fixture in a tight race for the Premier League title.
The two goals that came from the break would’ve also answered the critics of Solskjaer’s tactics, including the German tactician who suggested the League leaders were too defensive during a goalless draw last weekend.