Dubai: A scream from Andy Robertson was a forlorn attempt to distract Mason Greenwood beginning Manchester United’s comeback. The defender won’t be the only one shrieking at Liverpool after going out of the FA Cup.
Not that everything went wrong for Liverpool, with Mohammad Salah scoring twice. The Liverpool striker’s opener was cancelled out by Greenwood and he levelled after Marcus Rashford put United in front. But Bruno Fernandes bent in a free-kick in the 78th minute to send United into the fifth round with a 3-2 victory on Sunday.
Losing compounded a miserable 70 hours that also saw Liverpool beaten at home by Burnley on Thursday in a further blow to their title defence. It was a 0-0 draw with United a week ago that helped Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side stay top of the standings in the pursuit of the team’s first Premier League title since 2013.
“We have to sort it together and that’s what we will do,” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said.
The excitement lacking in the Anfield league encounter was on show a week later at a freezing and fan-free Old Trafford with the highest scoring match between these fiercest of English rivals since 2010.
United were joined by Chelsea, Everton, Leicester and Burnley on Sunday in advancing to the round of 16 where they will play West Ham next month.
“We gradually layer by layer are getting better and better and winning tight games,” Solskjaer said. “So the morale and the confidence of course is very good.”
Liverpool have gone 483 minutes without a league goal but remembered where the net is in the cup. Roberto Firmino thread a pass to Salah who lifted a shot over Dean Henderson from close range in the 18th minute.
But the lead lasted only six minutes. Paul Pogba’s tackle gained possession, Donny van de Beek released Rashford on the left flank by the halfway line and a diagonal pass landed perfectly at the feet of Greenwood, who withstood the yelling of Robertson to maintain his composure to score.
The favour was returned three minutes into the second half. Greenwood played in Rashford through the centre and the striker placed the ball in bottom corner for his 15th goal in all competitions this season.
But United were made to pay for their slackness. A sideways pass from Edinson Cavani was too casual and was intercepted by James Milner. After passing to Firmino on the left of the penalty area, Milner was inside the box as the return pass came across. But Milner’s stepover let the ball roll through to Salah who squeezed a shot through Henderson’s legs.
The introduction of Fernandes was transformative — as so often since he arrived a year ago. Presented with a chance to grab a winner from a free-kick, the Portugal midfielder seized it, bending the ball around the wall into the net.
“Yesterday, he was told that he wasn’t playing so he stayed out practising for half an hour to 45 minutes,” Solskjaer said. “But it worked and it paid off.”
In snowy conditions at Stamford Bridge, Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick as Chelsea beat Luton 3-1 — the first two coming in a seven-minute span in the first half.
There was a rare start these days for Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga but a familiar error, which allowed Jordan Clark’s shot to go through him. But Abraham struck again in the 74th minute. Not even a cup game could help Timo Werner find the net again. The German missed a late penalty to leave him with only one goal in two months, which came in the previous round.
Only the cup run is going well for Chelsea at the start of 2021, with Frank Lampard’s side losing five of their last eight Premier League games.
Leicester staged a second-half comeback to beat Brentford 3-1 after conceding after six minutes from Mads Bech Sorensen.
James Maddison teed up Cengiz Under to equalise and Youri Tielemans put Leicester ahead from a penalty after being tripped. Maddison tapped in a rebound to seal the win.
Jay Rodriguez struck twice for Burnley in a 3-0 win at Fulham — the 31-year-old striker’s first goals since July. Rodriguez turned provider for Kevin Long for the third.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his first goal in 50 days after returning from injury to set Everton on their way to a 3-0 victory over Sheffield Wednesday. Corners from James Rodriguez were headed in by Richarlison and Yerry Mina in the second half.
Chelsea 3-1 Luton Town
Fulham 0-3 Burnley
Brentford 1-3 Leicester City
Manchester United 3-2 Liverpool
Everton 3-0 Sheffield Wednesday