Liverpool’s miserable start to 2021 was compiled as Manchester United ran out deserved 3-2 winners at Old Trafford in the F.A. Cup fourth round.
A brace for Mohammed Salah wasn’t enough for Liverpool, as goals from Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes sent United through.
Story of the game
Unlike the recent Anfield fixture, United started the livelier of the two sides, controlling the possession much like their opponents did a week ago.
United created the first opening of the match as Greenwood broke down Liverpool’s right, driving into the area. He was forced wider than he’d have like and could only find the outstretched foot of Allison with his low effort.
Greenwood then produced United’s second effort of the game as Edinson Cavani threatened to break before stumbling and laying it back to Greenwood. He produced four or five step-overs before unleashing an effort which fizzed just wide of the near post.
However, it was Liverpool who opened the scoring out of nowhere. Roberto Firmino picked up the ball in a central position before sliding it into Salah on the right-hand side of the box to put him in on goal. His finish was just as good as the pass as he calmly lifted it over the onrushing Dean Henderson to give Liverpool the lead.
Ten minutes later, United did what they’ve done so many times so far this season and equalised. Rashford picked up the ball on the left of halfway line before firing over a searching cross field ball. Milner jumped but narrowly missed the ball leaving Greenwood open on the right of the box. The youngster took one touch and fired across goal past Allison with great composure.
The game opened up from that point as the half ticked on. United had the next substantial effort of the game as Paul Pogba found himself in space from a corner before heading waywardly over the bar.
Moments later, Scott McTominay found himself in a similar predicament meeting another Shaw corner. However, his effort was a carbon copy of Pogba’s previously and sailed over the crossbar.
A sloppy ball from Allison put Fabinho under pressure with Greenwood closing him down as Fabinho was forced into a rash foul on the edge of the box. Pogba stepped up to strike the set piece, but his effort flashed a few yards wide.
United then found themselves in again on the left just seconds later as Shaw got to the byline before pulling the ball back which Allison punched clear to McTominay on the edge of the box. The Scotsman took one touch before firing low but his effort was blocked just yards from goal.
The last action of the half came from United again as a sublime touch from Rashford took him clear of Rhys Williams before laying it off to Pogba on the edge of the box. However, his curling effort flashed dangerously wide of Allison’s near post to finish off a half dominated by United from start to finish.
United started the second half as they ended the first as Greenwood played through Rashford who comfortably beat Williams as he had been all game. With only Allison to beat, Rashford slid the ball under the Brazilian and into the far corner to give United a deserved lead.
United contained Liverpool well in the following minutes, limiting them to possession on the halfway line until a ball over the top found James Milner in the area. However, his stretching effort sailed clear of the bar.
However, seconds later Liverpool won the ball back, shifting it to Firmino who found Salah in the box. He then swept the ball through the legs of Henderson from around eight yards out to equalise for the visitors.
Liverpool then took the momentum and created another chance soon after as Trent Alexander-Arnold found space in the box before unleashing an effort that Henderson had to parry wide.
For the following 20 minutes the game appeared to die down with both teams looking to re organise as chances came few and far between. The only moment of real note was a reckless challenge from Sadio Mane which was deemed a bookable offense, much to the dismay of United who wanted harsher sanctions.
Substitute Fernandes had had one of United’s better chances of the half with around 10 minutes remaining from a free kick from close range. His strike flew across the wall into the goalkeeper’s side of the goal, past the outstretched arm of Allison who could do nothing to prevent the goal.
The inevitable pressure from Liverpool ensued, however they struggled to penetrate a well organised United back line as United continued the threat of a counter.
With the minutes ticking away, United broke again through Fernandes who, following a give and go with Wan-Bissaka, picked out Cavani in the box. The Uruguayan rose high to power a header across goal leaving Allison stranded. However, the ball just struck the face of the post before pining back into play as Liverpool’s blushes were spared.
The game was brought to a close after Fernandes almost played himself through on goal, however, United ran out worthy winners.
Liverpool’s slump continued as United’s unbeaten streak was extended in brilliant fashion.
Next up in the cup, West Ham United travel to Old Trafford for round 5 as David Moyes seeks vengeance on his former employers.
Man of the Match – Marcus Rashford
Manchester born and bred; Marcus Rashford was the key man for United in securing the victory. A goal and a fantastic assist in addition to offering a constant threat which Williams struggled to contain all game.