Liverpool vs. Manchester United was the tie of the FA Cup's 4th round and it failed to disappoint, with the hosts coming away the winners after a pulsating encounter at Anfield. Although United dominated for long spells of the match, it was Liverpool who started and ended by far the better, and they ended up deserved 2-1 victors in a match that somehow managed to overshadow (despite the TV camera's best efforts) the racism dispute between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra that led to a long suspension for the Uruguayan.
Testing David de Gea with long shots and crosses was the order of the day for Liverpool, and it wasn't long until he was made to work very hard in dealing with both Andy Carroll and Daniel Agger on a corner, which he got nowhere near. Fortunately for the young goalkeeper, Steven Gerrard's delivery was incredibly poor and the ball floated out of play. However, the danger was clearly there and it came as no surprise when the hosts opened the scoring.
The industrious Stewart Downing embarked on a driving run before Jose Enrique saw a shot deflected behind for another corner, and with de Gea more interested in tangling himself up with Andy Carroll than tracking the flight of the ball, Agger stole in and nodded home via the top of the goalkeeper's head. The goal can't have helped de Gea's confidence, but he should have done much, much better with that.
United were playing pretty well by this point - Antonio Valencia had already hit the post with a quite brilliant shot, and the visitors had most of the possession, with Paul Scholes running things from the centre of midfield. As time went by, his influence grew, and with United very much looking like the better side by the half-hour mark nobody was shocked when Park Ji-Sung met Rafael da Silva's cross with a very nice volleyed effort that left Pepe Reina with no chance.
There was an interesting incident in the second half where Maxi Rodriguez jumped in two-footed on Ryan Giggs only to have his offence completely ignored by referee Mark Halsey (there wasn't even a booking!), but the match was mostly about attacking rather than committing fouls, with both sides having good chances throughout the game.
The best, however, was saved for last when Dirk Kuyt, guilty of a poor header when presented with a clear chance minutes earlier, picked up a flick by Carroll and drove straight through the United defence, dispatching the ball past a helpless de Gea with minimal fuss with two minutes left to play, making the score 2-1.
There was time enough for Kuyt to come close to making it three in injury time only for the Dutch international to roll the ball just wide of the far post, but Liverpool will hardly be too bothered about the miss - after three minutes of injury time they'd beaten the hated Manchester United and advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup, joining Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton as the teams in the draw so far.