The Reds’ FA Cup elimination was one of the biggest talking points of the weekend
#1 Chivita Big Weekend Review
Europe’s biggest sides were in action again this weekend, with a series of tantalising fixtures and heavyweight match-ups across England, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.
The FA Cup brought drama aplenty, while one or two of European football’s genuine heavyweights found themselves the wrong side of a damaging defeat.
Read on to check out Chivita’s biggest headlines of the weekend that was…
#2 Liverpool dumped out of the FA Cup
Liverpool just can’t catch a break right now, can they?
After one win in their previous six matches in all competitions heading into Sunday’s FA Cup showdown with Manchester United, Jurgen Klopp would have been desperate to silence the doubters with progression to the Fifth Round.
Ultimately, it wasn’t to be, as Bruno Fernandes netted a 78th-minute winner to dispatch the reigning league champions 3-2 following a thriller.
At least Liverpool finally got back among the goals—they haven’t scored in their previous four Premier League games—but Klopp will be acutely aware of the potential cost of another damaging defeat to their fiercest rivals.
#3 Respite for Lampard?
Tammy Abraham scored a hat-trick as Chelsea dispatched Luton Town to progress to the FA CupFifth Round, easing the respite on embattled coach Frank Lampard.
Abraham netted twice inside the first 17 minutes—following assists from Timo Werner and Reece James—before Jordan Clark pulled one back for Luton to keep the Blues on their toes, following a characteristic blunder from Kepa Arrizabalaga.
It took until the final 16 minutes, but Abraham eventually killed off the contest with a close-range finish following Werner’s missed penalty.
Chelsea’s win sets up a meeting with Barnsley, but will Lampard still be with the club for the Fifth Round?
After another unconvincing display, rumours of the club legend’s imminent exit continue to swirl.
#4 Arsenal woes resume
Arsenal’s FA Cup defence lasted just two matches as the Gunners were dumped out of the competition this weekend after being defeated 1-0 by Southampton in the Fourth Round.
There had been hopes that, with the Londoners’ form improving in recent weeks, Mikel Arteta’s side could extend their burgeoning optimism into the cup competition.
However, it wasn’t to be, as Gabriel’s own goal—following Kyle Walker-Peters’ shot—evaded Bernd Leno and sent Saints through to the Fifth Round.
With Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Emile Smith Rowe absent, Arsenal were shorn of two of their in-form players, and despite hurling Thomas Partey, Bukayo Saka and Alex Lacazette on in the second half, Arteta will rue his side’s early elimination from the cup.
Will this be a blip for the Londoners, or a sign that their recent improvement has been a false dawn?
#5 Real back to winning ways
Real Madrid desperately needed a return to winning ways on Saturday after they were dispatched from the Spanish Cup by lowly Alcoyano in midweek.
It was a different story this weekend, as Deportivo Alaves were put to the sword in a 4-1 triumph.
Casemiro, Eden Hazard and Karim Benzema (two) got the goals to secure all three points for Los Merengues as they began to banish the memories of their Copa del Rey disappointment.
While the win may calm some of the disquiet at the Bernabeu, they still have it all to do in the La Liga title race, as they trail Atletico Madrid by seven points, having played one game fewer than their city rivals.
#6 Milan giants stumble
AC Milan will have fancied their chances of extending their winning run to three consecutive league matches when they hosted Atalanta on Saturday, even if their visitors have been in decent form recently.
However, La Dea proved imperious as they ran out 3-0 winners in an unexpectedly one-sided showing at the San Siro that utterly exposed the would-be champions.
This handed the initiative in the title race over to their Milan brothers Inter, who could have moved top with victory at Udinese.
However, playing simultaneously to Milan, they were unable to break down their hosts, and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
It leaves Inter on 41 points and Milan on 43 after 19 games, although they’ll both be wary about Juventus—currently down in fifth—who are on 36 points with a game in hand after beating Bologna.