The third round of the FA Cup treated us to a cracking Merseyside derby at Anfield. Neither team took this game lightly, fielding close to full strength teams. With local pride at stake and a shot at silverware in the distance, Liverpool and Everton gave it their all to win this classic tie.
In the end, goals from James Miler and a debuting Virgil van Dijk were enough to see Jurgen Klopp’s men safely into the next round. The defeat will be tough to take for Sam Allardyce as he will argue that his team could have and probably should have scored more goals. Regardless, Liverpool are through to the next round of the most prestigious cup competition in world football.
Here are 3 key moments that changed this enthralling FA Cup game.
Penalty Decision – ‘34
With the current state of refereeing in England today, it’s literally suicidal to put your hands around an opposing player in the box. Referees are fooled by everything and more inclined to give a decision when you give them a reason to. That’s exactly what Mason Holgate did, he put his hands around Adam Lallana in the box and allowed the Liverpool player to make the most of it theatrically. Robert Madley responded by pointing to the spot.
On replay, it was soft, but you cannot give referees that kind of decision to make. James Milner took the subsequent penalty and slotted it past a stranded Jordan Pickford. From then on, Everton were always playing catch up.
Roberto Firmino vs. Mason Holgate – ‘41
Once again, the Everton youngster was involved in a controversial moment in the first half. After being beaten to a ball by Roberto Firmino, Mason Holgate seemingly couldn’t accept the fact he had conceded a throw-in, so he proceeded to push the Brazilian into the stands. What followed was a sight we don’t really need or want to see in modern football.
As Firmino jumped out of the crowd, he ran straight into the face of Holgate and had to be restrained by the referee Robert Madley. A heated exchange followed, and it’s alleged that Firmino said inflammatory things towards Holgate based on race. But I emphasise ‘alleged’ as these reports are not confirmed.
From that point onwards, the game had an edge to it as both sets of players became more aggressive and rage-filled.
Introduction of Ademola Lookman – ‘51
The 20-year-old has been on the verge of breaking into the Everton starting XI for a while now, but tonight, he gave Sam Allardyce a lot of food for thought. In the 51st minute, Ademola Lookman came on for the iconic Wayne Rooney and filled his big boots. As soon as he came on, he directly took on players, ran with the ball and brought others into the game.
In his 39 minutes on the pitch, Lookman completed a stunning 5 successful take-ons, completed 100% of his passes, won 1 aerial and had 24 touches of the ball. In Everton’s only goal of the game, Lookman’s quick thinking helped speed up the process as he sent Phil Jagielka through on goal, who in return set up Gylfi Sigurdsson. Ademola Lookman has always been touted as one for the future, but after tonight, he may be one for the present.