Liverpool beat Cardiff City 3-1 at Anfield yesterday to secure their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup. A goalless first half was quickly forgotten when goals from Jota, Minamino and the returning Harvey Elliott sealed the win. We review the game.

You can find player ratings from the match here:

° The lineup. The manager put out a strong team, no doubt trying to get his players back into the groove. Naby Keita started in midfield after his return from AFCON and there were places on the bench for Thiago, Harvey Elliott and new signing Luis Diaz.

° Uninspiring half of football. Liverpool didn’t do enough to break down the Cardiff defence first half, with the Bluebirds happy to sit back and soak up pressure. The Reds only managed one shot on target and looked devoid of ideas to find a way through the packed defence.

The closest they came was when Keita found Jota in the box and Diogo produced a magnificent piece of skill to manouvre space for a shot. Jones was also handed a presentable chance when Minamino’s cutback fell to him in the box after an exchange of passes with Jota.

° Wind affected deliveries. Liverpool attempted 18 crosses in the first half alone, with just two being accurate. The wind was wild yesterday and this caused cross after cross to sail harmlessness out of play. It took the boys till halftime to adjust to the conditions accordingly.

° Lucky Kelleher. The second half began with a little bit of controversy. Kelleher came rushing out of his box to clear a through ball and instead fouled Mark Harris. He got away with a booking as the referee and VAR didn’t deem it as a denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity. That incident seemed to wake the side up.

° Trent and Jota combo again. Five minutes after the VAR check, Jota opened the scoring from Trent’s free kick delivery. It is a combination that has started to bear fruit for Liverpool, with the duo’s strengths complimenting each other beautifully – Trent’s deliveries and Jota’s inexplicable prowess in the air.

Diogo Jota has now scored eight goals from a Trent Alexander-Arnold assist. That’s the same number as Mohamed Salah and fewer only than Sadio Mané (11).

Luis Diaz and Harvey Elliott changed the game

° That double sub. The sight of Harvey Elliott and Luis Diaz standing on the touchline waiting to come on was a poignant one. In that one snapshot, we got a glimpse of the depth the manager has available for the second half of the season

° Minamino impresses. Taki started the game on the right wing but drifted into central areas and looked dangerous in the half spaces. He crowned a good performance with a goal after reacting quickest to Diaz’s cutback. That’s now 7 for the season. He’ll be looking to hit double figures. Not bad at all for a backup.

° Diaz debut. The new man enjoyed a bright cameo on the left wing. He showed appetite to press and work to win the ball back throughout with some lovely touches on show too. This was showcased when he robbed NG on the byline and set up Minamino’s goal. We could be seeing a lot more of him than we thought.

° Harvey back with a bang. The story of the game has to be the 18 year old returning after a five month layoff and scoring a peach of a half volley to mark his maiden Liverpool strike. It wasn’t just the goal either, he was bright throughout and looked like he’d never been away.

° Cheap goal to concede. Cardiff netted a consolation goal late on after Colwill intercepted Firmino’s pass and raced away from Milner before drilling his shot past Kelleher after exchanging passes with Davies. It was a minor dent on a day of positives.

° Squad depth. It was great seeing all the returning faces, with Thiago joining Keita and Elliott in making a return. Add Diaz to the mix and it’s a healthy set of options for the manager to choose from, and that’s without Origi (who’s back in training) and Mané & Salah (who are on their way back from AFCON).

° On to the Fifth Round. Jürgen Klopp’s side will now host Norwich City on 2nd March, just a couple of days after the Carabao Cup final. It is a draw the Reds should be happy with as they will expect to knock Norwich out again having already knocked them out of the League Cup.

Jürgen Klopp has several options at his disposal

° Another Cup run? Get past Norwich and the Reds will be in the quarter finals of the FA Cup. With the likes of Manchester United, Leicester and Arsenal already being knocked out, you can see a path opening up to another Wembley appearance.

° What next? Leicester City come to Anfield on Thursday night off the back of an embarrassing 4-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest. Liverpool owe them one after that frustrating loss at the King Power back in December.

That defeat came after Leicester had been on the receiving end of a 6-3 hiding at the hands of Manchester City so the Reds will know not to underestimate Brendan Rodgers men after a heavy defeat.



  1. Good to see everyone back, it’s a massive boost for us.
    I’m so excited to see what the 2nd half of the season holds for us. With this squad and hopefully no more Injuries, there’s no telling how much we can achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

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