Football

Manchester United achieve welcome cup win

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Hernandez netted United's winner. (©GettyImages)
Hernandez netted United's winner. (©GettyImages).

There was Capital One Cup celebration for Manchester United on Wednesday night as Javier Hernandez's goal saw the Reds safely through to the fourth round after a 1-0 vicotry a plucky Liverpool side at Old Trafford. 

It was United boss David Moyes who perhaps surprised most people with his starting line-up after opting to make eight changes from United's defeat against Manchester City. Moyes chose to go with a traditional 4-4-2 formation with Wayne Rooney partnering Hernandez up front whilst Brendan Rodgers decided to choose his strongest possible team, deploying a 3-5-2 formation with both Jordan Henderson and Jose Enrique on the wings.

This was possibly in reaction to Saturday's defeat against Southampton which saw Liverpool pose a minimal threat from wide areas.

Despite United's array of changes, it was them who started the brightest with Hernandez spurning a half chance in the third minute - much to the relief of the travelling Reds fans. However, it took Liverpool at least 20 minutes before they seemed to adapt to the new formation Rodgers had chosen to utilise.

The threat that Liverpool did carry was predominantly from the wide areas with Enrique, who was left out of the starting lineup on Saturday, not shy to get forward in support of the front line. It was this threat which produced Liverpool's first real chance with Enrique playing a delicious diagonal pass to Luis Suarez who was lurking in the box, but the Uruguayan's touch was unusually happy.

Throughout the duration of the rest of the second half, it was Liverpool who continued to threaten and look the most likely to open the scoring with Daniel Sturridge spurning two decent openings.

United, at times, seemed to find it difficult to contain the front three of Suarez, Sturridge and Victor Moses with all three at times playing some interchanging passes, although ultimately with no end product. Equally, United were finding it hard to find gaps in Liverpool's defence with Enrique and Henderson willing to drop back to cover their respective wingers effectively resulting in Liverpool having a back five and forcing United to play through the middle. 

However, it was United who made the breakthrough straight after half-time. Rooney was involved as he sent in a wicked swinging corner which seemed to allude Steven Gerrard and resulted in Hernandez being able to produce a cute finish which Simon Mignolet had no chance of saving.  That was Hernandez's first goal since May and will no doubt have some United fans calling for him to start United's next game against West Brom.

Liverpool's response was good, with the wingers beginning to push up more resulting in United's wingers being afforded more space. It was through Liverpool pushing their wingers up the field which resulted in a 53rd minute chance for Jordan Henderson. The ball squirted out to him on the edge of the area only for him to side foot his effort marginally wide of the post.

From this moment, the game became stretched, inevitably resulting in more chances for both teams with Shinji Kagawa having a notable effort in the 60th minute which just shaved Mignolet's bar. Liverpool continued to press and a Moses diving header in the 70th minute and then a Suarez free-kick which hit the bar in the 72nd minute represented good opportunities for Liverpool to restore parity.

However, it was United who held on for the win - a win which will ease fan's worries over the tenure of Moyes but equally leave some Liverpool fans asking why players such as Gerrard and Sturridge weren't rested considering the fact that Moyes managed to make eight changes and still produce a result.

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Topics:
Liverpool
Manchester United
Football
League Cup
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