Thanks to a pair of late winners, Liverpool and Manchester United are through to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
[ MORE: PL sides enter 3rd round of FA Cup this weekend ]
Liverpool 2-1 Everton
Virgil Van Dijk put forth a debut performance to remember, as he scored the late, winning goal in Liverpool’s third-round victory over Merseyside rivals Everton at Anfield. After completing his $100-million move from Southampton to Liverpool last week, the 26-year-old quickly endeared himself to the Anfield faithful by separating the two sides in a hotly contested, chippy encounter that on occasion threatened to turn ugly.
Liverpool went ahead 10 minutes before halftime, when Mason Holgate wrapped his arms around Adam Lallana. James Milner stepped up and converted from the spot to make it 1-0. Bobby Madley’s decision to award the penalty was questionable, to put it lightly.
Van Dijk so nearly got his debut goal in the 63rd minute, but Jordan Pickford made a difficult save to keep the Toffees’ deficit at just one. Not long later — four minutes, to be exact — the blue side of Merseyside punished the red side with an effortless, fluid counter-attacking move that brought them back together again, at 1-1. Gylfi Sigurdsson arrived late to the top of the penalty area and slotted home after Phil Jagielka made a 70-yard, lung-busting print to get forward and lay the ball back for a wide open Sigurdsson.
Six minutes from full-time, Van Dijk would get another chance to play the part of hero. Pickford rushed out to punch, but the big Dutchman stood his ground and headed into the empty net.
Manchester United 2-0 Derby County
Jesse Lingard, the late bloomer at Man United, continues to come up huge for Jose Mourinho’s struggling Red Devils, time after time after time. It took nearly the full 90 minutes — 84, to be exact — for United to break through against Championship side Derby at Old Trafford, but the quality of Lingard’s stunning goal made it (almost) worth the wait.
The most notable event from the game’s first 45 minutes actually came during halftime, when Henrikh Mkhitaryan was subbed off after a disappointing first-half performance, leaving his Man United future in more and more serious doubt. Just as notably, it was Romelu Lukaku, making his return from the head injury he suffered seven days ago, who replaced Mkhitaryan. Lukaku then grabbed the insurance goal in the 90th minute, his first since Dec. 17, snapping a streak of four scoreless appearances.