Just a week after holding the champions to a draw at Anfield, Manchester United went toe to toe with Liverpool and came out on top with a 3-2 win in the FA Cup.
The Red Devils came from behind after Mohamed Salah opened the scoring thanks to goals from Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford to take the lead. Salah equalised for Jurgen Klopp’s side before substitute Bruno Fernandes smashed a free-kick in late on to seal progression for United into the next round.
It was a change of tact and intention from Solskjaer and one that worked in their favour, as they showed they can attack the top teams and do damage.
United’s big game form this season has been questionable, having failed to beat any of the other members of the ‘big six’ and having scored just one goal in games against them before this game.
Solskjaer had often opted for a pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred in midfield previously, looking to play on the counter attack while ensuring they didn’t lose with extra defensive protection. However against Liverpool, McTominay was paired with Paul Pogba and Solskjaer played with three attacking players behind the striker. He was going for it.
It was a pretty good display overall too, with many players putting in top performances all over the pitch.
In the past with United’s setup, when Salah opened the scoring the Reds would have been in trouble. They wouldn’t have had much creativity and would have been occupying ten yards deeper than normal. But with this front-foot approach, United were always in the game.
It showed progress in the mentality of the club right now, they now believe they can win these games and compete with the top teams.
A cup tie is different to a league game and if the mentality is carried into games in the future it will be a bigger sign that the mentality has shifted. But the performance was encouraging enough that it should definitely be considered for the upcoming fixtures.
The counter attack was still a threat, as seen with Greenwood and Rashford’s goals, but they created enough openings from keeping possession in the middle third and shifting side to side, as well as overlapping full-backs.
Solskjaer has got his side attacking well, defending well and competing in games against the big sides as well as sitting at the top of the Premier League. The only thing missing now, is a trophy.