5 talking points from Liverpool's 4-3 defeat against Manchester United

Liverpool lost an enthralling FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

A quadruple is not to be for Jurgen Klopp in his last season in charge but there are still plenty of prizes to be disputed. Here we run through five of the biggest talking points.


REDS SHOOT THEMSELVES IN THE FOOT

The frustrating thing for Liverpool here is that the game was in their hands, more than once. From wasting breaks - Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez particularly culpable - to literally giving it away in the last second - Harvey Elliott we’re looking at you - Liverpool shot themselves in the foot. 

They were passive at times, especially in the opposition half, and didn’t press home the advantage when they could have. 

There was an alarming lack of control; how can a team score three away goals at Old Trafford and still end up losing? Surely the time was right for the kind of boring, game-killing dominance that Manchester City seem so expert at serving up. 

Instead we got chaos.

240318 -- MANCHESTER, March 18, 2024 -- Manchester United, ManU s Antony Matheus dos Santos 3rd L celebrates after scoring during the FA Cup quarterfinal match between Manchester United and Liverpool in Manchester, Britain, on March 17, 2024. 

Jurgen Klopp will have been limited in what he could do from the bench - the likes of Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah are just coming back from injury breaks and needed replacing - but the manager will be disappointed with the lack of positive impact in the main from his subs. 

With the Reds’ options growing and the injury crisis easing, Klopp will be able to make changes based on preference rather than necessity. Some of those on the fringes need to step up. 

€60M FOR EURO DEFENSIVE STARS? LET'S STICK WITH QUANSAH

Every day seems to bring new transfer market links to emerging defensive talents all over Europe. 

We’ve heard the names of Ousmane Diomande, Willian Pacho and Goncalo Inacio mentioned in recent weeks with fees of €60m + expected by their clubs before they consider a sale. 

However, Liverpool should come to the realisation that they already possess one of the finest young defenders around in Jarell Quansah. 

The Warrington native has been a revelation for the Reds since stepping into the breach and covering yet another defensive crisis. 

He’s been more than just a solid deputy alongside Virgil van Dijk, he’s been a bonafide star in the making. 

Against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final, against Manchester City in a Premier League title decider, against Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round, the 21-year-old looks at home against any opposition. 

His contribution in the run-up to Alexis Mac Allister’s equaliser was exquisite too. He jinked his way around the United defenders before picking Darwin out with a pass. The Uruguayan’s layoff was right on the money for Alexis to strike at goal. 

It might be time for Liverpool to use the opportunity to save some money on defensive cover and give all their faith to Quansah. You won’t find many better. 

SALAH PRINCE OF EGYPT, KING OF OLD TRAFFORD 

Liverpool have been without Mo Salah for the majority of 2024 but thankfully for the Anfield side he now looks like he is coming back to full fitness. 

240318 -- MANCHESTER, March 18, 2024 -- Liverpool s Mohamed Salah C celebrates after scoring during the FA Cup quarterfinal match between Manchester United, ManU and Liverpool in Manchester, Britain, on March 17, 2024.

With massive games on the horizon, and with a two-week international break in the pipeline, Klopp will be able to rely on a Salah firing on all cylinders. 

The Reds were given a glimpse of what’s in store with Salah netting YET AGAIN at Old Trafford in a huge game. He scored the go-ahead goal in first-half injury time after Alexis equalised. 

It was his 13th goal in 14 matches against Manchester United and he has shown them no mercy on their own turf. He’s now scored in five successive matches at their ground, setting a new record. 

His hat-trick back in 2021 in a 5-0 win was the first treble scored by an opposition player since Ronaldo for Real Madrid back in 2003. Salah reserves his very best for games against United and the only shame is that Klopp had to remove him when he did. 

JURY OUT ON GAKPO MORE THAN EVER

Cody Gakpo is a player for whom the jury is still out among much of the Liverpool fanbase but the manager always seems to turn to him. 

The 24-year-old has played over 40 times for the Reds this season, moving into double figures in terms of goalscoring, but has yet to fully convince in the big moments. 

Football - FA Cup - Quarter-Final - Manchester United, ManU FC v Liverpool FC MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 17, 2024: Liverpool s Cody Gakpo L is challenged by Manchester United s Mason Mount during the FA Cup Quarter-Final match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda

The attack seemed to dwindle once he was introduced at Old Trafford on Sunday and no moment better summed up his impact than the failed breakaway which could and should have settled the affair in normal time. 

Gakpo was leading a five v two chase in the 78th minute with Liverpool up 2-1. A goal at that stage would have extinguished all the home side’s hopes. However, he chose the wrong option with Elliott’s shot eventually coming to nothing. 

Criticism was fierce on social media in the aftermath with supporters suggesting that Gakpo trips up his own side’s attacks. 

A decision is going to have to be made over the £37m capture from PSV in the next transfer window as, despite the goals, he is a player who still looks ill at ease at Liverpool.  

LET'S TURN THE PAGE

Liverpool will have a mini-reset with the upcoming international break and some of the top stars being afforded time off. 

It allows additional time to recover for the likes of Salah, Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones - among the Reds’ biggest injury losses. 

And when they come back there is a European trophy to contest and the Premier League to win.

The Reds are bang in the race for the title, sitting level with Arsenal at the top of the table and with City in the rearview mirror for now. 

They are looking forward to a Europa League quarter-final against Atalanta, an eminently winnable tie. 

And at the end of the season comes the promise of a final in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium, home to so many Liverpool fans. 

Klopp will have been hoping to sign off with a quadruple, including the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup for good measure. 

It’s not to be but there are still big prizes to fight for, not least the opportunity for Klopp to win a second league title. 

Let’s turn the page. 

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