Extra Time Heartbreak for Liverpool at Old Trafford

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FA Cup Postmortem: Manchester United 4-3 Liverpool

This was a game that could and should have been won in regulation time, however, a culmination of poor decision making and fatigue saw the reds bow out of the FA Cup at the quarter final stage.

Below is how the team lined up, with match details following.

LFC Starting Eleven

GK – Caoimhin Kelleher

RB – Joe Gomez

RCB – Jarell Quansah

LCB – Virgil van Dijk (c)

LB – Andy Robertson

LCM – Dominik Szoboszlai

CDM – Wataru Endō

RCM – Alexis Mac Allister

RF – Mohamed Salah

CF – Darwin Núñez

LF – Luis Díaz

LFC Subs

Harvey Elliott – Dominik Szoboszlai (72 mins)

Conor Bradley – Andy Robertson (77 mins)

Cody Gakpo – Mohamed Salah (77 mins)

Kostas Tsimikas – Joe Gomez (101 mins)

Bobby Clark – Luis Díaz (113 mins)

https://twitter.com/carra23/status/1769437158111055991?s=46&t=rxgukmqdoXc4muVFLSx2EQ

Goals

Manchester United 1 – 0 Liverpool
– Scott McTominay – 10 mins

Manchester United 1 – 1 Liverpool
– Alexis Mac Allister (Darwin Núñez) – 44 mins

Manchester United 1 – 2 Liverpool
– Mohamed Salah – 45+2 mins

Manchester United 2 – 2 Liverpool
– Antony – 87 mins

Manchester United 2 – 3 Liverpool
– Harvey Elliott (Conor Bradley) 105 mins

Manchester United 3 – 3 Liverpool
– Marcus Rashford (Scott McTominay) 112 mins

Manchester United 4 – 3 Liverpool
– Alad Diallo (Alejandro Garnacho) 120+1 mins

Match Stats

Possession

Manchester United 42% – 58% Liverpool

Total Shots

Manchester United 20 – 19 Liverpool

Corner Kicks

Manchester United 4 – 7 Liverpool

Goalkeeper Saves

Manchester United 8 – 7 Liverpool

Photo: IMAGO

First Half Summary

The opening period of this game was a fire cracker that lasted for the entirety of the tie. It was unclear what strategy would be undertaken by the home team, which unveiled itself quite early on. Despite the reds carrying substantial form into the Old Trafford encounter, it would be the home side that would take the lead in the 10th minute, as some good work from the left-hand side allowed Scott McTominay to open the scoring after some good work and a ball in from the flank.

The Red Devils had started bright and were deserving of their lead, as the stand-alone cup match descended into an end-to-end battle. Continuous pressure was lacking from the away side, as despite moments arising, everything seemed rushed and uncoordinated. Avenues to attack would present themselves, however, the final pass or decision would be wasted without a clear opportunity presenting itself.

Finally, in the 44th minute, Darwin Núñez found Alexis Mac Allister close in on goal, who struck beyond the keeper to level the game. That effort did in fact benefit from a deflection, but the work of the Argentina international was still precise and enough to bring his team all square. Only moments later would a second goal present itself, as with renewed intent, more good work from Darwin Núñez ended with a parried shot falling to the Egyptian King. Mohamed Salah was able to clinically thrash the ball into the net and from deficit. Liverpool entered the half time break with a 1-2 lead and in hindsight, probably needed the half to keep going.

https://twitter.com/anfieldindex/status/1769428809852268773?s=46&t=rxgukmqdoXc4muVFLSx2EQ

Second Half Assessment

On resumption of the second half, no changes were made by either side. The assumption by all was that Manchester United would crumble under the pressure of falling behind. To the credit of Erik ten Hag, his men defended gallantly as they found themselves dominated for almost the entire second period.

There seemed to be a continual rush to the game of the reds, where counter attacking play would be forced instead of built with calm. Wasteful carries by Luis Díaz became common and despite posting some good progressive numbers, even the Hungarian skipper, Dominik Szoboszlai, seemed too eager to become the match winner. Jarell Quansah at this point was enjoying a good game as he and his captain, Virgil van Dijk, drove their team forward with a confidence that they could repel anything that dare enter their own half.

Unfortunately, the repeated lack of inconsistency in attack finally came back to bite the title challengers, as the much-maligned Antony scored that late equaliser to force extra time.

Extra Time Nail-biting

As the clock resumed into overtime, the tired legs of Liverpool became more and more prevalent, yet it would be Jürgen Klopp’s men who would again take the lead in the 105th minute. An assist by Conor Bradley found Harvey Elliott on the edge of the penalty area, before he struck low and beyond the United stopper, André Onana.

Once again, the lacklustre visitors had been redeemed and a clear pathway to close out the game had presented itself. Performances by this stage were ragged and the game state was open and inviting both teams to attack another. Two very late goals by the home side ended the FA Cup run and quadruple hopes of Liverpool, with a very disappointing loss of possession by Darwin creating the perfect end for their adversary.

The game ended 4-3 and the reds were eliminated.

Photo: IMAGO

Final Thoughts

This was a game that was thrown away by overconfidence and a lack of real conviction. Moments can arise at the feet of superior teams where they feel that the win will simply avail itself, until a determined opposition pounces and eventually overcomes.

The raft of injuries and hectic schedule of games was always going to threaten the hopes of Liverpool, which is still poor excuse for a game that should have been won comfortably in the second half. Recalibration and rejuvenation are now needed through the international break, as bigger games lie ahead and the chances for two more trophies still linger.

Hopefully come May, this game can be seen as a stumble on the way to ultimate glory.

Steven Smith’s Pre-game Prediction:

Manchester United 1 – 2 Liverpool

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