Bruno Fernandes was Red Devils’ match-winner against Liverpool in the FA Cup but Paul Pogba played an integral role again.
A late free-kick from substitute Bruno Fernandes gave Manchester United a 3-2 victory over Liverpool on Sunday at Old Trafford, booking their place in the FA Cup fifth round at the expense of their rivals. This was the second time the arch-rivals met in a week, with the first game ending in a dull, goalless draw at Anfield.
The visitors took the lead after Mo Salah was put through by Roberto Firmino and the Egyptian slotted calmly past Dean Henderson in goal.
Soon after, United equalised through Mason Greenwood, after a lovely cross-field ball over the top by Marcus Rashford. Three minutes after the restart, the home side took the lead with Rashford capitalising on youngster Rhys Williams’ error, before slotting the ball past Alisson.
Liverpool got back in the game after James Milner intercepted Edinson Cavani’s pass and then played a neat exchange with Firmino which allowed Salah to smash in the equaliser.
Both teams looked to find the winner before substitute Bruno Fernandes lashed home a free kick from just outside the box to make it 3-2 for the Red Devils.
Getting Down & Dirty
Marcus Rashford played the final pass to Mason Greenwood to equalise for United. But Paul Pogba played an important role in the build up to that goal.
He stopped Firmino in his tracks on the edge of his own box and allowed a quick counter-attack from which United scored.
For United’s second goal, Pogba recovered the ball well and played the pass to Greenwood, which led to Rashford putting the hosts in front.
Eric Laurie – a performance analyst and an academy coach with Norwegian club Molde – highlighted Pogba’s work rate in laying the foundation for Manchester United’s first two goals against Liverpool –
#MUNLIV— Eric Laurie (@EricLaurie) January 24, 2021
For both of United´s first 2 goals, the transition from defence to attack started from Pogba pressing Liverpool players & creating a ball recovery situation for United. A brilliant display of desire & pressing from Pogba. pic.twitter.com/y4cHFOLYzk
Selfless and Instrumental
Pogba started the game in a midfield duo with Scott McTominay. He controlled the game very well from midfield, putting passes for the forwards and providing a shield to the defence.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer introduced Fred in the 65th minute, switching Pogba to the right-hand side, where he started and finished against Liverpool at Anfield a week earlier. He tracked Liverpool’s left-back Andrew Robertson’s run and nullified any attack from Liverpool’s left-side.
The Frenchman has produced moments of brilliance, most recently his stunning and crucial winner against Fulham on Wednesday in the Premier League, as United sit top of the league.
But what’s most significant is that he has also shown qualities not normally associated with him. His display on Sunday typifies the selflessness behind his recent resurgence.