Manchester, England – Manchester United added to Liverpool’s current woes with a 3-2 win, thanks to a free kick by Bruno Fernandes in a blockbuster fourth-round F.A. Cup clash at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Portuguese, on as a substitute, stepped up to bend a right-footed strike past Alisson in the 78th minute to send his team into a last-16 meeting against West Ham United.
Mohamed Salah scored both of Liverpool’s goals. The first gave his side the lead in the 18th minute minute before Mason Greenwood struck an equalizer. Salah scored again in the 58th minute to tie the score after Marcus Rashford had put United ahead.
While it looked like a much-improved Liverpool would grab the victory, it was Fernandes, so often United’s attacking spark, who secured the win for his team with his 28th goal in all competitions for the club since his debut last February.
The thrilling match was a complete reversal from the sluggish 0-0 stalemate between the sides at Anfield in a Premier League match last weekend.
That didn’t provide much consolation for Liverpool, which has now won only once in seven games in all competitions.
United, on the other hand, is riding a red wave, having lost only once since being knocked out of the Champions League in early December. That run has carried the club to the top of the Premier League.
“We played some really good stuff, good goals, we have to defend well against them and we managed to react well,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.
Liverpool, playing in its unfamiliar blue away kit, looked much more like its old self, as the misfiring forward line clicked back into gear.
Liverpool went ahead in the 18th minute in tried and tested style — Roberto Firmino slicing open United’s defense with a superb pass to Salah who dinked a cool finish over Dean Henderson.
United needed only eight minutes to respond. Paul Pogba won a tackle on the edge of his own box, Rashford advanced before delivering a “quarterback style” pass that Liverpool’s James Milner failed to cut out.
The ball arrived at Greenwood who took a touch before burying his shot past Alisson.
Another Rashford raid just before the break ended in Pogba flashing a shot just wide when he should have hit the target.
United went ahead shortly after the restart when Greenwood slid in Rashford who guided his shot past Allison.
Back came Liverpool, with Milner wasting a glorious chance to score before, a minute later, Edinson Cavani sloppily gave away possession in a dangerous area and Firmino’s ball in was dummied by Milner with Salah making the most out of the chance.
Both sides hunted the winner, but when Cavani was fouled on the edge of the area, Fernandes meted out punishment.
“When you leave him out like I did today, he stayed about 45 minutes after training yesterday shooting free kicks so I was pretty confident he could score one if he got the chance,” Solskjaer said.
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