Erik ten Hag and Manchester United may just have given Liverpool what they really needed

Liverpool’s dream of winning a quadruple was truncated last Sunday after being knocked out of the FA Cup by bitter rivals, Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp’s side, who went 1-0 down in this quarter-final tie, rallied to take a 2-1 lead into the break after quickfire finishes from Alexis Mac Allister and Mohamed Salah.

The Reds spurned a number of chances after the restart to put the game out of reach and, after failing to do so, allowed the hosts back into the match through substitute Antony.

Harvey Elliott’s extra-time effort looked to have sealed it for the visitors, though Erik ten Hag’s side fought back – first through Marcus Rashford and then Amad Diallo at the death.

Liverpool will look to use the current international break to prepare for the final two months of the campaign, a period during which they could still claim a further two trophies.

Discussing how the forthcoming weeks may play out after the disappointment of the recent 4-3 defeat at Old Trafford, four Liverpool supporters have shared their views as part of a weekly fan column.

It was altogether pretty grim the way in which Liverpool twice threw away the lead at Old Trafford last Sunday. That’s exactly what happened: we threw it away. It wasn’t down to United’s brilliance because, let’s be honest, they’re all over the place.

It came down to our own bizarre lack of decision-making in key moments, despite having done all of the hard work. But that’s history now, and while I’d have loved another trip to Wembley, all will be worthwhile if we can return recharged and lift one of the remaining more important biggies.

It’s going to be full throttle upon our return, starting against Brighton next weekend. That home fixture is a perfect chance to blast away the cobwebs and purge that bitter taste of defeat from the system.

What a golden opportunity to lay down a marker with some players returning to the ranks and our title rivals going head-to-head that very same afternoon. Nothing is given here but I have faith that these players will learn from Sunday and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Let’s give our all!

What a gut-wrenching, stress-inducing way to bow out of the FA Cup. To suffer a knockout blow in the last second of the match is tough to stomach, but when such a blow is inflicted by a fierce foe, the anguish and pain and sadness is compounded.

Some credit is due to Manchester United because they started the game well, and Liverpool didn’t start at all. While Liverpool were imperious in the second half, they were toothless in front of goal, spurning numerous opportunities in great attacking positions. United, on the other hand, finished most of their chances.

It was a tired performance by Liverpool. Rather than this being due to a dip in mentality, as some have suggested, this was due to a gruelling, unforgiving schedule of fixtures and injuries that the team has had to endure.

Most Reds will feel bleak over the international break, but we have now narrowed our focus. When we return, all eyes will be on our Premier League and European campaign, both of which are still in full flight. This FA Cup setback will quickly fade from memories if Liverpool can add to their trophy haul before the season concludes.

Maybe it was all too much. Another run at a quadruple, another side pushed to the brink, another season filled with the possibilities of unimaginable glory. We were up against it, certainly, a side ravaged by injury and young recruits plugging the gaps.

The season’s not done yet: plenty to fight for, plenty of battles forthcoming, plenty of glory to grab. Seasons at this level are relentless, there’s no rest for the wicked or weary.

Speaking for myself, I would have loved for them to leave dreary Old Trafford with a spot in the FA Cup semi-finals. But on the heels of that thrilling encounter, I’ve made peace with the loss.

There’s nothing we can do about it. While it only means two fewer matches, any little bit counts. If we reach the Europa League final, there will be fifteen games remaining in total.

The international break will be a moment to recharge, shift the focus and bring things back into perspective. When the players return, the last and most important section of the season begins. With it being the last hurrah for Jurgen, I have no doubt the lads will be primed and ready for whatever comes. I know the fans will be.

Sunday’s 4-3 extra-time FA Cup quarter-final exit at Manchester United left one of those grim feelings in the pit of the stomach, where there have so often been butterflies this season.

That element of unfamiliarity simultaneously enhanced the pain and perspective. The clumsy manner of the defeat – as much as United’s recovery deserves credit – was so unlike this iteration of Liverpool. Let’s ensure it remains a collector’s item.

It’s not an ideal way to go into an international break, but we’ve consistently channelled various circumstances well in 2023/24, so the task is to do likewise with Sunday’s pain, lessons and positives. There were certainly still some of the latter.

The Premier League and Europa League are there to be attacked when we resume. They are competitions that have the potential to complement one another.

A minimum of 12, and maximum of 15, matches remain under Jurgen Klopp and, with several players seemingly set to return from injury by mid-April, we’ll hopefully have an additionally sound foundation to rotate, and build rhythm and momentum upon.

Quadruple off. So much still on.



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