Fernandes gem knocks Liverpool out of FA Cup, Chelsea ease pressure on Lampard

Playmaker struck the winner with 12 minutes left at Old Trafford to win 3-2 against arch-rivals


AFP January 25, 2021

LONDON:

Bruno Fernandes' superb free-kick sent troubled Liverpool crashing out of the FA Cup as Manchester United beat their bitter rivals 3-2 in the fourth round, while Tammy Abraham's hat-trick eased the pressure on Chelsea manager Frank Lampard in a win over Luton on Sunday.

Fernandes struck with 12 minutes left at Old Trafford to cap a thrilling clash that left Liverpool searching for answers after another painful defeat.

Jurgen Klopp's side took the lead through Mohamed Salah's first-half goal, but Mason Greenwood equalised before the interval.

Marcus Rashford put United in front after the break and, although Salah equalised, Portugal midfielder Fernandes came off the bench to fire his free-kick past Alisson Becker.

After slumping to fourth in the Premier League following Thursday's shock 1-0 defeat against Burnley -- their first league loss at Anfield since 2017 -- Liverpool have to lick their wounds again.

The English champions, who trail leaders United by six points, have won only one of their last seven games in all competitions and that lone success came against Aston Villa's youth team in the FA Cup third round.

Liverpool struck in the 18th minute when Roberto Firmino threaded a pass to Salah, who lifted his shot over Dean Henderson.

United levelled in the 26th minute when Rashford sent Greenwood clear for a low strike past Alisson Becker.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men netted again in the 48th minute as a mistake from Liverpool's young defender Rhys Williams allowed Greenwood to race clear and score.

Firmino's cross was converted by Salah for Liverpool's 58th-minute equaliser, but Fernandes won it with his sublime set-piece after Fabinho fouled Edinson Cavani.

United will host West Ham in the fifth round as their momentum continues to build.

"You know when you go a goal down the reaction of everyone was really good. We played some really good stuff, good goals. We have to defend well against them and we managed to react well," Solskjaer said.

Liverpool have never got past the fifth round in Klopp's reign, but that will be the least of his concerns as he tries to spark a revival from his spluttering team.

"There was a lot of good things and some mistakes around the goals. If you want to win here you have to be absolutely top and we were not," Klopp said.

Lampard has been under the spotlight, but there was some relief for the Blues boss as Abraham's finishing helped seal a 3-1 victory against Luton.

The England striker struck twice in the opening 17 minutes, first firing into the far corner before heading home from close range for his 10th goal of the season.

However, it was not all plain sailing for Lampard's men as goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was at fault for another sloppy goal, while Timo Werner's lack of confidence will not have been helped by missing a penalty.

Jordan Clark's low shot crept past Kepa's woeful attempted save to give Luton a lifeline and the world's most expensive 'keeper had to make a much more difficult stop to deny Harry Cornick an equaliser in the second half.

A brilliant team move finally killed the tie off 16 minutes from time as substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi crossed for Abraham to tap home from point-blank range.

Werner had a chance to score just his second goal in 16 games when he was tripped by Clark, but his dreadful spell continued as his tame penalty was saved by Simon Sluga.

A trip to Barnsley in the fifth round awaits early next month in what is likely to be Chelsea's best chance of a trophy this season.

Leicester and Everton were also successful over Championship opposition to maintain their fine form.

The Foxes came from behind to beat Brentford 3-1 to set up a home tie against Brighton.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin struck on his return from injury as Everton saw off Sheffield Wednesday 3-0. Carlo Ancelotti's men will face the winners of Tottenham's trip to Wycombe on Monday.

Burnley beat Fulham 3-0 at Craven Cottage and play Bournemouth or Crawley in the last 16.

Solskjaer hails Fernandes as Man Utd star downs Liverpool

Manchester, United Kingdom, Jan 24, 2021 (AFP) - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saluted Bruno Fernandes' perfectionist personality after the Manchester United midfielder's brilliant free-kick clinched a 3-2 win over Liverpool in the FA Cup fourth round on Sunday.

Solskjaer's side added to Liverpool's woes as Fernandes capped a thrilling tie with his late strike at Old Trafford.

Premier League leaders United recovered from Mohamed Salah's early opener to score through Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford.

Salah equalised before Portugal playmaker Fernandes came off the bench and underlined his class with a superb winner in the 78th minute.

"Great goal. 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.

"He's never happy with me when I tell him to go inside after training when he's playing the next day so he got some practice yesterday."

United, who sit six points clear of Liverpool in the league, are on a superb run after shaking off their poor start to the season.

Coming from behind to beat a team of Liverpool's quality was further proof of their renaissance.

"Brilliant. You know when you go a goal down, the reaction of everyone was really good," Solskjaer said.

"We played some really good stuff, good goals, we have to defend well against them and we managed to react well.

"Of course towards the end there were some moments but we kept them away.

"We felt if we could switch the ball early we could attack them because Liverpool defend on the front foot, so we had to be quick on the ball. We did that well."

Since his United debut in February 2020, Fernandes's 28 goals are more than any other Premier League player.

"I'm happy because we won, nothing more. Most important was going to the next round. It doesn't matter who scores. Of course if I score, I'm happy, that's for sure," Fernandes said.

"I work a lot on these kind of goals, free-kicks. I tried, this one was good.

"Before the free-kick, Edinson Cavani told me, 'Try the hard one on the side of the keeper'. I tried it and it went well."

Asked how excited he is by United's recent progression, Fernandes said: "A lot. As I said when I had just arrived this is everything, a dream come true.

"To play for this big club, to play in the Premier League, it's a dream come true."

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