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5 talking points from Man Utd’s win over Liverpool in FA Cup classic

Bruno Fernandes emerged from the bench to score a stunning free-kick and win an FA Cup classic for Manchester United against fierce rivals Liverpool.

Fernandes struck home from the edge of the area to seal this five-goal thriller on a pulsating early evening at Old Trafford.

Mohamed Salah dinked Liverpool ahead early in the piece before Mason Greenwood ended his goal drought to level.

Marcus Rashford provided the assist and Greenwood returned the favour after the break to put the Red Devils in front.

Salah’s second restored parity for the visitors but Fernandes stepped off the substitutes’ bench to settle the tie.

Here are five talking points…

1. Greenwood stops the rot

Greenwood ended his goal drought

Going into this game, much of the talk had been on Liverpool’s woes in front of goal.

But, while Manchester United have been in fine form, young striker Mason Greenwood was going through a dry spell of his own.

The England starlet had gone 10 games without a goal – the longest drought of his fledgling career so far.

But he was handed a start here by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and he quickly repaid his manager’s faith.

It was a sumptuous cross-field ball from Marcus Rashford, and Greenwood took it down brilliantly to fire past Dean Henderson.

2. Liverpool click into gear

Salah's brace wasn't enough for Liverpool
Salah’s brace wasn’t enough for Liverpool

Suddenly it all seemed so easy.

As Liverpool have floundered in front of packed defences in recent weeks, they have looked all at sea in their attempts to do what usually comes naturally to them.

The muscle memory is there though, and as both full-backs pushed high suddenly Roberto Firmino could turn and face goal with play fairly stretched ahead of him, with his threaded ball to Mo Salah exactly the sort of thing that you expect to see when you watch Jurgen Klopp’s sides.

Salah’s fine finish can be put into that bracket too, as the Reds showed that they haven’t suddenly forgotten what it is that they do best when they’re on their game.

3. Liverpool should probably sign a centre-half

It was a trying afternoon for Rhys Williams
It was a trying afternoon for Rhys Williams

It’s not the hottest take you’ll read from this match. But Liverpool should really just sign a centre-back.

Yes – they’ve been dealt a bad hand with injuries. Few teams – if any – could cope with the loss of a colossus such as Virgil van Dijk.

Add to that the injuries to Joe Gomez and Joel Matip and it has been rotten luck for Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds boss spoke of his frustration at not being able to add a defender before this match, and their problems at the back were exposed.

Rhys Williams, 19, struggled to deal with Marcus Rashford throughout the first half and made the mistake that saw United take a 2-1 lead after the break.

He failed to control Mason Greenwood’s through ball leaving Rashford one-on-one with Alisson, and the England striker gobbled up the opportunity.

In the unlikely event anyone from the Anfield hierarchy is reading – there’s still a week of the transfer window left.

4. Manchester’s Marcus likes giving it to Liverpool

Rashford finishes past Alisson
Rashford finishes past Alisson

National treasure, thorn in Liverpool’s side.

Marcus Rashford is many things to many people, and when Liverpool come to Old Trafford Manchester’s finest tends to bring his A game.

Just as Liverpool threatened to take control at Old Trafford following Salah’s opener, there was Rashford’s brilliant piercing pass to set Mason Greenwood scampering clear for the leveller.

Then it was Rashford’s turn to do just that at the start of the second period to score himself, his fourth goal in his last four home appearances against the Reds.

The rest of the country might look up to him for many other reasons, but for United fans his displays against the old enemy must be near the top of the list.

5. Mad Fer it

Fernandes celebrates scoring the winner
Fernandes celebrates scoring the winner

Just where would Manchester United be without Bruno Fernandes?

It’s difficult to think of another single player that has transformed a team quite like the Portuguese.

He has almost solely taken the Red Devils from Premier League also-rans to genuine title contenders – and won the match with a moment of brilliance here.

It’s somewhat poetic that he replaced Donny van de Beek – another big-money signing that has failed to hit the heights since arriving at Old Trafford.

And when Fabinho fouled Edinson Cavani on the edge of the area, there was only one player that was going to take the free-kick.

Fernandes went keeper’s side and placed it firmly into the corner to seal the tie.




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