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FA Cup

Liverpool ease past Cardiff to secure a place in the FA Cup 5th Round

Harvey Elliott scored on his return after five months out, Luis Díaz made his debut and Minamino scored on his 50th appearance in the 3-1 win over Cardiff.

Update:
Liverpool ease past Cardiff to secure a place in the FA Cup 5th Round
Clive BrunskillGetty Images

Liverpool beat a young and enthusiastic Cardiff City side 3-1 at Anfield on Sunday afternoon at Anfield to advance to the fifth round of the FA Cup  Second-half goals from Diogo Jota, Takumi Minamino and a Harvey Elliott playing his first game after five months sidelined with an ankle injury, secured the win.

Resilient Cardiff

While Jürgen Klopp fielded a relatively strong Liverpool XI, four academy graduates started for Cardiff with manager Steve Morison making several changes due to injuries and with one eye on the Championship relegation battle where they are 20th. The first half was one-way traffic with Liverpool enjoying over 80% possession and numerous attempts on goal but Cardiff's rearguard held firm to ensure both teams went in at half-time with the score level.

Liverpool's perseverance paid off eight minutes into the second period when Jota rose highest to glance home a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross from a set piece for his 15th goal of the season in all competitions. "Cup games are always hard, even when playing lower league teams and we know the magic of the FA Cup," the Portuguese forward said afterwards. "It was crucial to get the first goal, it's hard to get the space against a low block and in the end we got three and are in the next stage."

Liverpool doubled their lead when a defensive mix-up allowed new 45 million-euro ($51.5-million) signing Luis Díaz, making his Reds' debut, to steal the ball on the touchline and square it back after some nifty footwork to Minamino to slot home. Elliott, who had come on with Díaz in a double substitution just before the hour, capped his return with a sumptuous strike, emphatically volleying in on the turn at the Kop end. There was a moment of concern when Díaz required treatment after Aden Flint landed on him while contesting a high ball, leaving his studs imprinted in the Colombian's knee.

Cardiff pull one back

Cardiff pulled a goal back as a consolation when 19-year-old Rubin Colwill initiated a counter-attack after stealing the ball in midfield, and he finished it with aplomb with a shot from the edge of the box.

"I'm really disappointed that we conceded a set piece and it was two poor goals that gave them the other two," Morison told ITV Sport. "Coming away from Anfield frustrated that we've given them three poor goals, it's tough... We had to withstand some pressure but I thought we did it well."

Liverpool will meet Norwich City at Anfield in the fifth round.

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