Home Football / Soccer Man Utd 4-3 Liverpool: Ten Hag earns another season as Gakpo and Nunez cop it…

Man Utd 4-3 Liverpool: Ten Hag earns another season as Gakpo and Nunez cop it…

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Man Utd 4-3 Liverpool: Ten Hag earns another season as Gakpo and Nunez cop it…

The Mailbox reacts to Manchester United saving Erik ten Hag’s skin with a thoroughly-deserved win over Liverpool. Also: Is Raheem Sterling done? And the value of Jordan Henderson to England…

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Liverpool’s flaws

Told ya. We’re flat track bullies. Can’t beat anybody either genuinely good or United. Is it arrogance? Mentality monsters my ass.

Scott, LFC Toronto

…First up: full disclosure. Dyed in the wool Red here, who has spent most of the season apoplectic at various ‘gates’ – Diazgate, Odegaardgate, Dokugate etc. And rightly so. They’ve copped some absolute all time shockers. Anyone who says otherwise is talking bollocks.

But. But….

This has at times just glossed over a rather uncomfortable truth. We’re now into late March, and Liverpool have now travelled to Manchester United (FA Cup QF), Manchester City, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Brighton and failed to land a single statement win on the road.

You can point at some mitigations, sure. But when all is said and done, the cold hard fact remains – they’ve not been able to go to any of those grounds and lay down a marker that says this is a team to be taken seriously for the title. Even worse is that in three of those games, they were ahead and well in control, but still couldn’t see it out.

In my opinion, you simply have to be better than that on the road if you have serious designs on lifting that Premier League trophy.

Perhaps they’re saving their best till last and will go to OT a second time and win. Win at Goodison, Villa Park and West Ham. You never know. But on the balance of all available evidence so far, it seems unlikely.

I think that away record might just cost them in the final reckoning. But I hope I’m wrong….

Andy H, Swansea.

Gakpoo

First off, credit to Man Utd. Not saying it to brush it out of the way just to rant at length about Liverpool’s performance, but truly all credit due. They came out and played their best first half of the season and were able to capitalize on the litany of errors served upon gilded platters by a surprisingly strong side chosen by Klopp.

His dodgy brace mid-week vs Sparta Prague notwithstanding, most of the season when I’ve seen Cody gakpo’s pink boots take the pitch I get a queasy, sinking feeling (not dissimilar to the same sinking feeling I get when his countryman laces up (no, not the one with the armband). Watching Gakpo lead that 5-on-2 break, I knew his slow decision making would let us down as it has all year long. He looked so promising when he first joined, but somehow he has regressed massively this season. Let’s hope he finds some work rate soon and starts using his head– both in mind and in the air. For a player 6’3 I cannot recall him winning any aerial duels or scoring any headers. He was by far the poorest Liverpool player today, coming on as a substitute and fading faster than any teammates who played the full ninety.

Nunez’ sideways pass to set up the second equalizer was “chaos” incarnate. You want his chaos, you live and die by it. The inability to see out a lead, twice, in dying minutes of regulation then extra time is truly chaotic. If United lose to Coventry I will have a chaotic footballing aneurysm.

Eric, Los Angeles CA (btw for all those mancs saying Gareth should’ve selected Mainoo over Henderson, wouldn’t Quansah over slabhead be much the better shout ?)

Sweet and sour

Well done Man U. As much as it pains me (although not as much as I thought it would tbh), a last minute 4-3 winner in a knockout game against your biggest rivals is unsurpassed in fandom.

The home team played a lot better than I expected them to on recent form and having a never say die attitude is, again, something admirable that I hadn’t expected from them.

That’s as nice as I’ll be to you.

A lot of your fans are still disgusting poverty and tragedy chanters, which came through loud and clear on the TV broadcast. And while this isn’t an example of either, it’s quite telling that when you scored an equalising goal 8 minutes from the end of extra time, your first thought was to sing ‘you Scouse bastards’ rather than to celebrate your own team.

Fernandes shouldn’t have been on the pitch for an hour of that match, it’s incredible the leeway from officialdom that he continues to receive.

Liverpool’s players were far too complacent on far too many occasions. Unfortunately 2 of those situations led to the 3rd and 4th goals.

Linked to that point…a 5 on 2 and 4 on 2 counter attack both resulting in meek efforts on goal for the Liverpool strike force? They should be getting rockets up their collective arses.

If we win the league match at *performatively hated upon marketing slogan* The Theatre of Dreams then I’ll be far less arsed about this defeat.

James Outram, Wirral

P.S. Levenshulme…I must’ve forgotten to tell my diary about all the subjective 50/50 decisions that went against my team otherwise I’d respond in kind.

… I’m going to put a positive spin on that. We were away and cup games between United and Liverpool usually end up with the home side going through. It means more (see what I did there) to them as it was in the only competition they can still win – although they obviously won’t because Man City exist. We only had 2 of our first-choice back 5 playing. That was our 18th game of 2024 to their 12 and our 2nd in 4 days while they had a full week off since they last played.

They played out of their skins while we looked knackered and there was barely anything in it. It reminds me of the 90s when our vastly inferior teams used to get themselves up for their ‘cup finals’ against United, then watch on enviously while they went for titles at home and abroad while we muttered in the dark and deluded ourselves that we could compete – were their equals.

In summary congratulations to United for a totally pointless victory – see you in a fortnight with Trent, Konate, Jota, Jones, Gravenberch and hopefully Ali back.

Jo (at least that will hopeful save ETH and Antony’s OT skins) Kent

United got away with it?

Me reading the game coverage…

Oh ok so Man Utd escaped that game with a lucky win after being dominated (checks xG: MU 4.25 – 2.18 Liv).

Hmm yeah but that might be over estimated due to extra time right… End of 90 xG: MU 3.13 – 1.93 Liv.

Yeah but surely Liverpool dominated the second half and should have put the game away… 2nd half xG: MU 1.27 – 0.74 Liv.

Gaurav MUFC Amsterdam (maybe their xG means more?)

Ten Hag’s turning point?

Football. Bloody Hell!

Sometimes there are memorable turning points in football. I am hoping that match was the long overdue one for United.

Parmjeet, Gravesend

Magic of the cup

Magic of the cup (TM) is alive and well. Minnows can still occasionally beat the big boys.

Niraj (enjoying these rare moments in an otherwise indifferent season) Tampa USA

…Living in Australia these 2:30am kick-offs are a killer. Equal parts too late to stay awake for and too early to set an alarm. And I don’t get to watch as many matches live nowadays as I once did.

But games like that make it all worthwhile.

As a United fan I’m thrilled with the outcome, but taking a step back to look at things holistically… that was an all-time great FA Cup tie.

My question for the mailbox is where does it rank? I ask because I think it stands as our best tie in the competition since the 1999 Semi-Final Replay. Is it Liverpool’s best since the 2006 Final?

An extraordinary advertisement for everything that is great about football and sport.

Sean Peter-Budge, Melbourne, Australia

Hands across Manchester

City fan here. Well, all in all, this FA Cup weekend has been rather marvellous, hasn’t it?

Living in London for so long, I’ve often been asked who I support whenever United and Liverpool play each other. For me (Clive), it’s never been an issue. It’s Manchester every time.

Here’s hoping for an all-Manchester final.

Mark (Loving the Google pixel ads with the smiling Liverpool players after the game. Great timing folks!) MCFC.



Eight conclusions​

Good morning all,

1. Manchester United are back.

2. Point one was very much tongue in cheek. United are a long way from being back. However, with Munich, Real Madrid, Liverpool and possibly Barcelona looking for managers this summer, they should surely stick with ETH. Blaming managers is fine, but if the top of an organization is inept, then there is little hope for the business. I have a corporate background in manufacturing, and worked for a blue chip who looked for poorly run companies, bought them and turned them around. The impact of the Ineos chaps will be so much more important than any individual team manager appointment for the long term footballing future of the club.

3. What a game. I thought United’s selections were good, and with AWB switching to LB and doing a great job sticking to Salah, was as good a first half hour as I have seen United play all year. That said, Salah is a great player, and Liverpool’s equalizer came partly because he knew AWB was not going to come in from the wing, thus creating the space on the inside.

4. A game of two halves? No. 30 minutes United, 40 minutes Liverpool, 15 minutes United, then an even ending.

5. The good start by United got the Old Trafford crowd going, and I do not think you can underestimate the impact that had on the game.

6. Thought the ref gave most 50/50s to Liverpool, including one in the second half where Dalot (I think) got a kick to the chest with Liverpool getting the free kick.

7. Antony scoring and also crossing with his right foot. Who would have thunk it?

8. If United had defended 3-2 like that, Graeme Souness et al would have eviscerated them, especially the goal for the winner straight from a Liverpool corner.

United may or may not win the cup, but this game will live long in the memory, and as a more recent event than the 0-7, that can get buried a little deeper too.

Ged (very chuffed) Biglin

Read more: 16 Conclusions on Man Utd 4-3 Liverpool: Ten Hag consequences, Klopp’s mistakes, Amad madness

…- That was what football is about. No sterile possession. Barely a ‘safety-first’ pass to be seen. Two teams that for long periods seemed to going largely on heart alone. Brilliant, brilliant stuff. As a United fan of course we’ll lose 2-0 to City in the final but who cares right now.

– Salah is a remarkable player. Despite essentially being man-marked, he’s still a threat. LFC are really going to struggle to replace him, such is the quality of the Egyptian. For all the chaos that Diaz and Nunez can bring, absolute ability will always shine through.

– Chaos-ball is fun. As people at my age often do, when an old (early 00’s, sob) match pops on the tele, I’ll often sit gripped as the ball seems to flow from one penalty box to the other. Then I tune into modern football and have time to go make tea before City ‘progress’ the ball forwards. Between the tactical training and fitness levels, something has been lost that this type of match just brings back.

– Amad should have been sent off. Rules the rules. As with all things in football, it’s the rules that are broken, not the officiating. On the other hand, the fact that Fernandes literally defending well is now framed in some kind of conspiracy talk is mental to me. He literally blocked a shot, with his shin, made no contact with the player with his studs and still we’re told he was lucky. And what’s worse? At Anfield he would have walked.

– I think that each football manager should get to pick a single pundit or journalist, and spend a month each year attempting to get them to lose their job. Pundit X called player Y the wrong name, or journalist Z used poor grammar. Bring it up over and over again, make sure their superiors and colleagues are well aware. Because approve of him or not, it’s despicable that the media frame a match around a professional being fired. We should be better than that (checks world geopolitical coverage…nope)

– Liverpool should have easily made that 3-1 in the second half, but at the same time United should never have gone into the half behind. For 40 minutes that was really, really encouraging from United. But, Kobbie Mainoo is a child, and expecting him to already be at the fitness levels of Klopps energizer bunnies is naive. When he tired, it left Scott McTominay to do whatever it is he does, because it’s not central midfielding. And United were woeful. It’s yet another example of the ‘donut’ formation that ETH is forced to employ, because United’s midfield bench options were the forced bargain-bin Amrabat and the semi-retired Erikssen.

– When Klopp’s brave, resilient LFC somehow overcame CFC in the league cup, all we heard about was the injuries he’d had to overcome. I think a bit like when Trump says something crazy it’s baked in now and no one notices, the media have forgotten what ETH is dealing with. No left backs in the squad. Best CB, not playing this year. One CF in the squad, coming back from injury and clearly not match fit. United ended with Bruno Fernandes and Antony in defense.

– There are two obvious reasons why ETH should get another year at United: first, as above, he’s barely had XI players able to play in their natural positions this whole season. His largest mistake has been Antony, we can all agree there, but having to field Lindelof, Maguire, McTominay and Jonny Evans more than Martinez, Malaica and Shaw is not his fault, and there’s no manager in the world that is building a modern footballing team with any of those in it. Second: there’s just no obvious, safe replacement. Give him a fit LB, a second CF and actual midfield and let’s see what happens.

– I’m genuinely sad to see Klopp go, because he’s an incredible manager, but he’s also being a real pr*ck at times this season. All managers lose, that’s no excuse for treating people like Klopp can do.

– Finally, a word on Garnacho – seeing him sprint the length of the pitch, after being United’s best player for 120 minutes is just a reminder of the sheer will some professional athletes have. He’s gonna make it big that lad. The winger on the other side, despite being alright, could learn a thing or two.

Ryan, Bermuda

Open goal

As someone who used to mail in and be published a few times when F365 was an emailed newsletter (!) it took yesterday to stir me out of my mailing slumber.

Anyway I just wanted to say the fact I’ve not seen a “This means Four” headline anywhere is a travesty!

Steve (Now that’s how you win a game with kids) B, Sheffield

Ten Hag not at risk

Very much looking forward to F365s reasons why Ten Hag is rubbish and to blame and will be sacked after that win over Liverpool that was not only epic but thoroughly deserved.

May I suggest not leaning on player unrest or game management, but I’m sure you’ll find your way.

I was mentioned in the mailbox recently with regards to Sofyan Amrabat and my absence from these hallowed pages.

I was genuinely infuriated to be proved wrong by United actually signing a player I was certain would so clearly be a massive mistake they would never dream of signing, so stepped away.

It has been gratifying to be right about the player, but I was still wrong about United being run by adults.

Then I became much more active on Fulham social media and oh my god no one cares but I’m around and the mailbox is still great without the same old people so.

Please stop pretending Ten Hag has ever been at risk though that’s just cringe worthy at this point.

Tim Sutton (Fulham spanked Spurs. Villa and West Ham drew. F365 must be bricking it about United making the top 4)



…Well I said it before, it was a make or break game for Ten Haag yesterday against Liverpool and they may have done it the hard way, but fair play for not giving up after going 3-2 down in Extra Time. I actually missed the whole game yesterday as I was out for a meal in town to meet a friend of mine, but was tracking the game on my phone and saw the highlights this morning.

What is impressive about the win yesterday is that Liverpool have not lost a game in such a long time, and were more or less at full strength too with United missing a few players. Can United now go on to win it? If Ten Haag gets to the FA Cup final again, you can’t really criticize how well he has done in the domestic cup competitions since arriving last summer (1 League Cup victory, and 2 potential FA Cup finals). However, if United end up beating Coventry in the semi final (United losing would just be the most United thing ever lol), it has to be a must win in the final at all costs given Top 4 is still looking like a distant possibility.

Yesterday Rashford & Amad saved Ten Haag’s job in the summer and you could see the relief Ten Haag showed at the end as well as the praise for his players too. I still think Ten Haag isn’t the man for the job long term, but maybe just maybe if he wins a trophy this season, it will allow him to bring in even more players in the summer who can strengthen, but I think some players need to go first so the right players are brought in.

Rami, Dubai

Cranky Klopp

There are people in this mailbox who think Klopp is more likeable than Arteta.

Let that sink in.

Damola, Bremen AFC

Read more: Jurgen Klopp resorted to personal insults after ‘dumb question’ from reporter

Celebration fuzz

Arsenal forever get criticised for getting over excited about their results. Is that because we’re looking good at the moment? Or do fellow football fans just hate us? Wonderful victory v Porto with young players holding their nerves!

So….Coventry were out of order for celebrating their victory v Wolves with two very late goals: ‘anybody would have thought they had thought they had won the cup!’; The Chavs were OTT with their celebrations, again with two very late goals ‘ anybody would have thought they had won the cup ; and ManYoo knocking ‘arrogant Liverpool’ out with their late winner: ‘anybody would have thought had won the cup!’ No, only Arsenal are watched by the ‘celebration police!’

Chris, Croydon

Sterling done?

Think we have all seen enough of Sterling as a starter for Chelsea now. He has his good days but more often than not he is more of a liability than an asset to the team. When he’s not playing well the argument has been well he’s a leader on the pitch as one of the oldest most experienced players but that petulant display says otherwise.

Enzo Fernandez is a leader on the pitch much more so than Sterling, while at the back we have Silva when he plays. But Disasi has impressed me with his attitude, he is not the best player in the world and he has the odd mistake in him but you can see he cares and is trying and he gives off a bit of a Rudiger vibe which is nice, I believe he has the potential to be one of the leaders in this team going forward if he gets the chance (thats never assured we are linked to new defenders every day despite being technically broke spending wise apparently).

Nico Jackson was very good against Leicester, he looks like he is growing in confidence the last few weeks and finally playing with a bit of freedom and performances like that can only help.

Finally as F365 pointed out in their match report Chelsea’s goals came from individual moments of creation and genius rather than a system. That is the root of Sterling’s problems he is the ultimate system player molded by Guardiola for years to know where to be and when to arrive exactly in the box and I that system he was lethal. But taken from that system he struggles and it’s hard to argue for his inclusion over the likes of Carney who seems better able to improvise and create chances in the style Chelsea are currently playing in which is basically hope for the best. The one thing sterling is world class at is winning free kicks and penalties but if he won’t let someone else take them his awful shooting negates that completely.

Still I choose to glass half full, it could be worse and it probably will be when they deduct 40 points from us because of that pesky ffp but we will worry about that later. Can’t be too upset today we still won and Liverpool’s quadruple has been cancelled, all in all a decent Sunday.

Aaron CFC Ireland

Read more: No respite for Pochettino, Sterling as Chelsea progress in spite of themselves

Henderson’s value

I haven’t watched Jordan Henderson play since he left Liverpool last year, either in Saudi Arabia or now at Ajax. Judging by the amount of recent memes about him though, I can’t imagine he’s playing well. Although I don’t think Jordan Henderson should be at the Euros based on his attributes as a player, there might be something he can add through his experience for this England team.

I was watching the recent Full Swing documentary, the last two episodes of which focus on the Ryder Cup, the biennial tournament between 12 players from the US and 12 players from Europe and couldn’t help but draw some parallels. Zach Johnson (the US captain) seemed to choose certain players almost entirely based on their cultural fit and past track record in tournaments as opposed to anything they had done recently. More specifically, he chose Justin Thomas, who wasn’t even in the 70 best players on the PGA tour, over Keegan Bradley, who was in the top 10-15. Thomas had a proven rapport with a lot of the team members and had a strong Ryder Cup record.

It’s important to note that the make-up of a squad, especially in international play, is so critical for the mental and emotional well-being of a Euros team. Additionally, Southgate will most probably be working off of a core rotation of 11 starters and 3-4 squads – outside of these 14-15 players, the other members are there to provide a) squad cover in case of injury and b) to contribute to a pleasant and tight-knit community so that the core group can thrive.

It’s unlikely to think that Jordan Henderson or any possible replacements (Kobbie Mainoo) will play any meaningful minutes, so why do we try to base their value/merit to the Euro squad based on this? If you bring Henderson, you favor experience; if you bring Mainoo or others, you’re prioritizing future growth and youthfulness to prep them for future tournaments. If it were up to me, I’d definitely bring Mainoo, but I think we tend to focus on the wrong things when we think about player selection in international tournaments.

Kenny (Gooner)

Jordan Henderson berates a referee.

Rice perspective

Saw it was put forth that Declan Rice may be a top-6 player in Europe. He’s a very good player, but definitely not top 6. I wouldn’t even say he’s top 6 in his position (Pedri, De Jong, Bellingham, Valverde, Kroos, Kimmich, KDB, Rodri, B.Silva are better).

Saliba as 2nd-best CB has a better case, but as someone pointed out he’s not even a first choice CB for France (personally, I would take Araujo 2nd after VVD)

While Arsenal have a good young team, none of their players are in anyone’s world XI. Maybe in a few years some of them can get there, so keep your powder dry till that happens.

Jason (Stop “basing off form”, otherwise Guirassy would have been the world’s best)

Screen time

On my way home from the bowl and haven’t seen any of the disallowed goals again, bit Christ alive that injury time VAR check was hideous. How can a decision take 6 minutes for the VAR, and then a further minute for the ref at the monitor? Suggests to me that it wasn’t clear and obvious.

I can only assume that anyone who still thinks VAR is a force for good has never been to a game. I wasted 10 minutes of my life across 2 VAR checks watching players stood around doing nothing, and I had to rely on twitter updates and guesswork to have any idea what was going on.

As for the game itself, the first half was excellent for West Ham. The front 4 of Antonio, Kudus, Paqueta and Bowen worked well and put Villa’s back 4 under constant pressure. The 4-4-2 Villa played didn’t really work and it was no surprise to see them change shape at half time.

Villa were then on top so Moyes had to make changes. Unfortunately he decided to take off Antonio and put Ben Johnson right wing, with Bowen going through the middle. After this we could not hold the ball up and Villa actually gained even more control, culminating with the equaliser.

Don’t know how Zaniolo escaped a second yellow when he threw the ball away as injury time started, I would have quite liked 7 minutes against 10 men.

The we had the drama of the third disallowed goal of the day, which just meant everyone went away feeling angry.

A draw against Villa isn’t a bad result, but it doesn’t feel great right now.

Andy the hammer

Source : Football365.com

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