Manchester United beat Liverpool 3-2 in the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup at Old Trafford on Sunday evening. Mohamed Salah opened the scoring in the 18th minute of the match with Mason Greenwood equalising just eight minutes later. Marcus Rashford then put United ahead in the 48th minute with Salah striking once more in the 58th minute to level the score. From the bench, Bruno Fernandes found the winner from a free-kick which was such a great strike to beat Alisson for the third time in the match. This victory feels so good, not for Liverpool though. United will face West Ham United at Old Trafford in the next round.
Liverpool started the match on the front foot, forcing a block in the third minute of the match. Georginio Wijnaldum was set up by Mohamed Salah but the Dutchman dragged his shot into the body of Scott McTominay, which averted the danger. In the seventh minute, Marcus Rashford had the ball, looked up and sprayed the ball over the top seeking to find Edinson Cavani but Alisson raced from his line, nearly misjudges the bounce, heading the ball to safety and stopping United from taking an early lead in the match. It was not very convincing from the Liverpool goalkeeper.
There was a foul in the eighth minute with Craig Pawson allowing United to play the advantage after James Milner challenged Harry Maguire late. Mason Greenwood then forced a save out of Alisson in the tenth minute, breaking through on the right and having Rashford in support. He got behind the Andrew Robertson and decided to take it on himself, shooting from an angle with the shot kept out by the boot of Alisson. Three minutes later, Greenwood had another chance but he shot wide of the target after being found by Cavani on the right and getting the better of Milner.
Liverpool opened the scoring in the 18th minute of the match through Mohamed Salah. Wijnaldum had the time to look up and pick his pass for Roberto Firmino, who then took the ball in his stride and spotted the run of Salah in between both Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw. Salah then eyed the onrushing Dean Henderson and dinked the ball over the goalkeeper to break the deadlock in the match. It was Salah’s 112th goal for his club and his 18th in all competitions this season. Liverpool then had another shot in the 23rd minute after United were caught in possession but Henderson was easily able to gather the ball.
In the 25th minute of the match, there was a clash with Rashford and Thiago as both rose to win the ball. Rashford was caught on the back of the head but after a few seconds he was alright to get back up and continue the match. Just a minute later, United were back in the match with an equaliser through Greenwood. Paul Pogba was hacked down by Firmino on the edge of United’s penalty area but Pawson played the advantage again. Rashford, on the halfway line, clubbed a cross-field ball over the head of Milner and Greenwood confidently fired his low shot across Alisson and into the bottom corner of the net.
United could have won a penalty for United in the 28th minute with Rashford causing some problems for Liverpool and threading the ball into Donny van de Beek, who started ahead of Bruno Fernandes in this match. Alisson came out to smother any attempt but the Dutchman went down holding his ankle but no penalty was awarded. United started to get back into the match with Rashford embarrassing Thiago with a nutmeg as Pawson awarded United a free-kick which Shaw took and placed the ball invitingly in for McTominay but Rhys Williams headed it over his own crossbar.
United had another chance in the 35th minute of the match after a good set-piece from Shaw, spotting Pogba all alone on the penalty spot but his header was firmly directed over. The Frenchman should really have tested the Liverpool goalkeeper a bit more there. Liverpool then started to click into gear again with Curtis Jones winning the ball from McTominay then Milner threaded the ball past Aaron Wan-Bissaka into Robertson but Shaw was alert to the danger at the far post to guide the ball around. There was a shot from the corner, which was wide of the mark and a great relief to United, who were under the cosh at the time.
Fabinho was booked in the 42nd minute of the match after Alisson played the ball out from the back with Fabinho late on Cavani. Pawson gave a free-kick and booked the Brazilian. United then had another chance in the 43rd minute with both Shaw and Pogba standing over the free-kick. The Frenchman took the kick with his right foot, but the shot ended up missing the target, which was frustrating. United started attacking more towards the end of the half with Rashford and Van de Beek combining before Shaw overlapped but the resulting cross was palmed out by Alisson to deny United getting anything from the attack.
There were no changes by either side at the start of the second half of the match. With the match still a draw, both teams would be seeking to find a winner to avoid extra time and possible penalties. That was seemingly averted early in the half though as Rashford put United in the lead in the 48th minute of the match. Rhys Williams was the player that eventually was embarrassed. Cavani got the ball, played it to Greenwood who in turn played it to Rashford, who was level with Williams and getting the ball ahead of him, using his pace to break through and fire his shot beautifully beat Alisson and put United 2-1 up in the match.
United’s lead did not last long, but it was longer than Liverpool’s lead in the first half. Salah scored his second goal against United in this match in the 58th minute, assisted by Firmino once again. Milner took the advantage after missing only a few minutes ago, with Harry Maguire playing the ball into Cavani and Milner winning it, laying it to Firmino who fed Salah after looking to return to ball to Milner. The Egyptian shot past Henderson for the second time in the match, levelling the score once again. The away side made their first substitution minute later as Sadio Mane replaced Wijnaldum in the 62nd minute of the match.
United made a double substitution in the 66th minute of the match with Bruno Fernandes and Fred replacing Van de Beek and Greenwood. Liverpool had another chance a minute later with Firmino awake and ready to get something. However, Henderson ended up keeping the resulting shot by Salah from hitting the back of the net this time. In the 69th minute, Mane crunched into Fred, winning the ball but taking the player too. He ended up seeing the yellow card, which should have perhaps been more? Fernandes got on the ball for the first time in the 70th minute, looked for Cavani but the cross did not reach him.
Liverpool then looked to take charge of the match, having a few shots in a few minutes but failing to get anything from them. Firmino, Mane and Salah were causing United some problems at the back, but for some reason United seemed to avert the danger. In the Liverpool area, Cavani seemed to be fouled on the edge of the box after Fabinho used his arm to gain something. United were awarded a free-kick, which Fernandes lined up to take, positioning the ball to take the shot, which found the back of the net. It was Fernandes’ 16th goal of the season, which shows how much class and ability the guy has. Eat that, Liverpool.
Solskjaer made a third substitution in the 86th minute with Anthony Martial replacing Rashford, who went straight down the tunnel for some treatment, which hopefully will not be anything costing for United. Liverpool then tried to find another equaliser, after going behind for the second time in the match. Divoc Origi went down just before the 90th minute, requiring some treatment. The BBC named Paul Pogba as the Man of the Match, which is something I would have to agree with, based on what he has quietly done throughout the match. Four minutes were added at the end of the match.
Pogba received a yellow card in added time, giving Liverpool a free-kick, which could have cost United something. However, the free-kick came to nothing for Salah, who was on a hat-trick in this match. Henderson took the goal-kick, firing it up field with United keeping possession. United ran down the clock averting everything that Liverpool had, winning the match 3-2. They will face West Ham United at Old Trafford in the fifth round, which will be played between the 9 February and the 11 February with the exact date and time yet to be confirmed. Come on United!
Goals: Mason Greenwood 26′, Marcus Rashford 48′, Bruno Fernandes 78′; Mohamed Salah 18′, 58′
Assists: Marcus Rashford 26′, Mason Greenwood 48′; Roberto Firmino 18′
Manchester United: Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay, Pogba; Greenwood (Fred 66′), Van de Beek (Fernandes 66′), Rashford (Martial 86′); Cavani
Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Tuanzebe, Telles; Mata, James, Matic
Bookings: Victor Lindelof 89′, Paul Pogba 90+2′; Fabinho 42′, Sadio Mane 69′
Written by John Walker