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FA Cup 2020-21 Summary: Manchester United vs Liverpool

Liverpool Fc were dumped out by the hosts Manchester United Fc, after losing 3-2 in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup 2020-21.

Following their shock loss to the visitors Burnley Fc in the Premier League, Jürgen Klopp made 5 changes to the Liverpool Fc (The Reds) side for the FA Cup Fourth Round Tie with Manchester United Fc (The Red Devils).

Rhys Williams started in Defence and partnered with Fabinho as Joël Matip was left out of the squad.

Captain Jordan Henderson missed out again after sustaining an unspecified injury. Instead of Xherdan Shaqiri; James Milner returned in the Midfield alongside Thiago Alcântara and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Also, in place of Sadio Mané, Curtis Jones was drafted alongside Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino into the starting line-up.

Similar to other defensive minded sides that the Reds faced, the Red Devils under Ole Gunnar Solskjær were contend to give the ball to the Reds as they looked to force a mistake from an Reds side lacking confidence and score Goals on the break.

The Reds took the early lead after a brilliant through ball from Roberto Firmino to Mohamed Salah split opened the home side Defence.

The Egyptian then dinked the ball with his weak right foot past Dean Henderson to make 0-1 for the Visitors in the 18th minute.

However, the Reds could not manage to protect their early advantage as a long diagonal pass from Marcus Rashford to Greenwood was neatly hammered past Alisson into the bottom left corner of the net to equalise for the Red Devils in the 26th minute.

Unable to cope with the pressure particularly the left flank, the Red Devils heaped pressure on the Reds throughout the First Half.

After sustained pressure from the hosts, the Reds would feel much relieved that the First Half ended at 1-1.

Later after the Second Half began; following an neat pass from Greenwood in the 48th minute, a miscued clearance from Rhys Williams helped Rashford to pounce on the ball who then neatly placed the ball in the bottom right corner of the net to make 2-1 for the home side.

Salah levelled the scoreline with his second Goal in the 61st minute after an assist from Firmino was neatly dummied by Milner.

Wijnaldum was replaced by Mané in the 62nd minute which meant Curtis Jones moved back to Left Midfield Position.

After Cavani was fouled by Fabinho in the 76th minute, Bruno Fernandes struck the resulting Free Kick into the bottom right corner of the net past the diving Alisson in the 78th minute to make it 3-2 for the hosts.

Xheridan Shaqiri and Divock Origi replaced Thiago and Firmino in the 80th minute but one could sense another Reds defeat.

Overlooking Minamino and persisting with ineffective Players like youngster Curtis Jones itself was baffling!

Minamino has not started since the Reds beat the hosts Crystal Palace 0-7 in December 2020.

It could have been 4-2 for the Red Devils as Cavani’s header hit the post following an assist from Fernandes in the 88th minute.

The Red Devils held on to win 3-2 in a topsy-turvy Match and ensure their progression to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup 2020-21 at the expense of the Reds.

Needless to say, the Reds have not won the FA Cup since May 2006!

 

Reds Team Performance Ratings

Liverpool (4-3-3 Formation)

Defence:

Alisson Becker – 5: Was beaten for all the 3 Goals scored by the Red Devils. The Brazilian had issues passing the ball out and one of the misplaced pass resulted in Fabinho picking a Yellow Card for the team during the First Half.

Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5: Struggled to deal with the attacks from Rashford and Shaw. Was involved more offensively particularly during the Second Half but his famed deliveries went missing again and the young Englishman’s overall performance looked still far below his usual high standards.

Rhys Williams – 2: The youngster was easily beaten for pace and missed many tackles. Made a blunder that resulted in the Second Goal for the home side. However, the youngster was not adequately shielded in the Midfield either.

Fabinho – 6: The Makeshift Defender was beaten for pace and outwitted by Cavani into conceding the Free Kick which then led to the winner for the Red Devils. Overall, the Brazilian made decent clearances and recoveries.

Andrew Robertson – 6: Found Greenwood difficult to deal with but looked threatening going forward but the deliveries particularly crossing positions were not good enough.

Midfield:

Georginio Wijnaldum – 5: Frequently lost his Midfield battles with Pogba and was too slow on the ball. Subbed during the Second Half.

Thiago Alcântara – 5: Struggled to a grip of the game and gave away few possession at times but the Spaniard was clearly the creative outlet for the Reds.

James Milner – 6: Simply was not tall enough to prevent the first Goal. Had lot to cover the ground playing as a Deep Lying Midfielder. Blazed one of his shot over the bar during the Second Half but shortly afterward, was alert to leave the ball to Salah that led to the second Goal for the Reds.

Forwards:

Curtis Jones – 5: His Selection itself was baffling as Takumi Minamino could have been the ideal Player for the Left Wing position. The youngster was struggling in his last few games and continued to struggle to make an impact in the game with just few bright moments in the game (when the youngster was switched back to playing in the Midfield).

Roberto Firmino – 6: Provided 2 assists. Pressed the United defences and would have been ideal to have either Minamino or Mané on the Left Wing for the extra potent attack.

Mohamed Salah – 6: Scored both the Goals for the Reds. Later was denied a Hattrick by Henderson during the Second Half.

Substitutes:

Sadio Mané – 5: Brought on to provide the extra attacking threat for the Reds but was unable to make the desired impact.

Xherdan Shaqiri – N/A: Came on to engineer an equaliser but simply had not enough time to make any impact.

Divock Origi – N/A: Same as Shaqiri.

Coach:

Jürgen Klopp – 4: The result meant that the Reds have failed to progress beyond the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in 5 of their 6 Seasons under Klopp. Shockingly, the Reds have won just once in their last 7 games in all competitions!

The German Coach selected what he felt was the best starting XI. It is understandable of the Reds ongoing Defensive Crisis but insisting on playing youngster Curtis Jones when better Midfield options in the bench were available, hardly made any sense.

It is not to blame Curtis Jones but the team lacked attacking cohesion and panache, whenever the youngster was involved. The youngster has to learn his game but never at the expense of derailing the ongoing Season.

 

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