Liverpool beat Championship side Cardiff City to book their place in the last 16 of the FA Cup and continue their crack at an unprecedented quadruple
Liverpool booked their pace in the last 16 of the FA Cup with a 3-1 win over Cardiff City at Anfield.
Second half goals from Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino and Harvey Elliott ensured the Reds will face Norwich City in round five later this month and continue their quest for an unprecedented treble.
Jota almost opened the scoring after just four minutes when he made himself a half yard before firing his effort against Dillon Phillips.
Cardiff grew into the first half and were aggrieved after they were not awarded a penalty for a foul on Mark Harris.
HAVE YOUR SAY! How many trophies will Liverpool win this season? Join the debate here
After holding out for the entire opening 45, their resistance was broken when Jota scored a superb header from a Trent Alexander-Arnold set piece.
Minamino then doubled their lead after a terrible mix up at the back allowed Luis Diaz to pick up his first assist on his Liverpool debut.
Elliott crowned his return with a goal, with every outfield player celebrating alongside the midfielder on his return from serious injury, before Cardiff nabbed a consolation through Rubin Colwill.
Here are the main talking points from Anfield:
Klopp’s intentions clear
The Liverpool boss has often been accused of taking the world’s oldest cup competition a little for granted, never truly taking a crack at lifting it.
However, with the league title appearing to be beyond them, the two domestic cups have seemingly grown in importance.
Having already reached the Carabao Cup final, they look set for a deep run in this competition and Klopp went with a very strong team to ensure their passage.
Alisson Becker may have been rested, but apart from the Brazilian this was arguably as strong as Liverpool could have gone – and it paid off.
Konate’s lucky break
Ibrahima Konate will have been excused for breathing a huge sigh of relief when VAR Darren England decided to not award Cardiff a first half penalty.
The summer signing was caught out by Mark Harris, who got the wrong side of him before making his way into the box.
Konate then appeared to rather clumsily bring down the Bluebirds striker, with players and fans alike screaming for a spot kick to be awarded.
On-field referee Andy Madley waved away those protests and England did the same and though commentator Ally McCoist felt it was a foul, those that truly mattered disagreed.
Cardiff continue the trend
In a weekend where the Premier League elite have had their feathers well and truly ruffled, Cardiff ensured that particular trend wasn’t bucked at Anfield.
After Middlesbrough beat Manchester United, and Chelsea and West Ham were given major fights by Plymouth and Kidderminster respectively, the Championship strugglers put up a valiant effort at the home of Liverpool.
The hosts dominated possession in the first half, but on the break, the visitors looked dangerous and had gone their way, they could have found themselves in front.
Once Liverpool opened the scoring, it always promised to be a tall task but they showed their fighting spirit in a battling first 45 minutes.
It’s not often that the debut of a £50million signing is overshadowed, but if it was possible, coming on with Harvey Elliott did just that.
The Colombian was given a huge welcoming roar when coming on, as did Elliott, making his long-awaited return following a sickening injury at the start of the season.
The sight of the talented Elliot returning to the field of play was a genuine feel-good story and he will now be hoping to pick up where he left off under Klopp’s tutelage.
It didn’t take long for either to make an impact, with Diaz creating Minamino’s goal before Elliott took the roof off Anfield by scoring on his return.
The quadruple dream lives on
Now well into February, Liverpool remain firmly in the hunt to achieve an unmatched feat in English football history.
They will fancy their chances to progress against Norwich just days before they take on Chelsea in the Carabao Cup final.
In the Champions League, they take on Inter Milan and few in Europe will want a second leg at Anfield in the latter stages.
Winning the Premier League looks the most difficult, but should they win their game in hand and beat Manchester City, that nine-point gap will have all been all-but erased.
Liverpool fans can dare to dream.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.