Liverpool’s third-round clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford ended in a 1-0 defeat following Javier Hernandez’s opportunistic strike at the start of the second half.
At the risk of sounding bitter one could certainly make an argument that the best side lost – with Liverpool repeatedly coming close to leveling the scores once the home side were in front. Luis Suarez and Jordan Henderson both rattled the woodwork on an evening where the Reds were extremely unfortunate to finish without a goal.
United started the brighter of the two teams and were on the offensive from the very start of the game. After enduring this early spell of dominance though Liverpool started to get a foothold and created some chances of their own.
Luis Suarez – playing in his first game since returning from suspension – played in Daniel Sturridge, who powered towards goal before firing narrowly wide.
Next Suarez looked like he’d worked himself a scoring angle, but was prevented by the onrushing David De Gea who smothered the ball.
Liverpool were knocking on the door, but the Utd defence were able to stand firm, and the half finished with the game still goalless.
It took less than a minute after the restart for the home side to take the lead though, courtesy of Hernandez. The Mexican found himself unmarked in the box to glance in Wayne Rooney’s corner before some fans had even made their way back to their seats.
The shock start didn’t seem to destroy Liverpool’s belief they could get something from the game though, and they pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
Jordan Henderson found himself presented with an opportunity when Evan’s attempted clearance fell to him on the edge of the box. The midfielder tried to guide his shot into the bottom corner but ended up pulling it wide.
With the Reds pushing forward it predictably left some gaps at the back, and Shinji Kagawa almost took advantage of this with 25 minutes remaining. The out of favour Utd player stormed through the centre of the park before firing a powerful shot against the crossbar.
Liverpool continued to press forward though, and hit the woodwork twice – first the crossbar from a Suarez free-kick before Henderson hit the post with a surprise shot from a short corner.
Ultimately though the equaliser was not to come, and the game finished at 1-0, meaning the Reds are now competing on only two fronts for the rest of the season.