Manchester United were knocked out of the FA Cup on penalties on Friday following a 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.
Toxteth-born Lee Peltier was the scorer of Middlesbrough’s final penalty, a feat the Liverpool academy graduate appeared to take great delight in as he returned to his teammates.
What might seem like nothing more than an enjoyable coincidence for Liverpool fans has actually been remarkably common in recent years.
Former Liverpool players are frequently on hand to oversee United’s cup demises:
2015: Manchester United v Middlesbrough – League Cup Fourth Round
Back in 2015, Middlesbrough were again successful in holding United at Old Trafford.
After a goalless draw in normal time, Boro went on to defeat United 3-1 on penalties.
Two former Liverpool players played a role on this occasion.
Daniel Ayala played the entirety of the game at centre-half for Boro, helping to earn his side a clean sheet in the process.
Ayala made a handful of appearances for Liverpool before leaving in 2011 to become a Championship stalwart.
Stewart Downing might be better remembered by Liverpool fans as an upsetting reminder of the Roy Hodgson era, but he was also present in this Middlesbrough side.
Downing went closest to breaking the deadlock in normal time, forcing a great save from Sergio Romero. He then went on to bury his penalty in the shootout.
2018: Manchester United v Derby County – League Cup Third Round
There were a number of ex-Reds involved in this game, but one man in particular took all the plaudits.
Wondergoal specialist Harry Wilson smashed a long-range freekick home to equalise early in the second half.
He gave United fans the (now outdated) ‘five times’ celebration to cement Liverpool fans’ enjoyment of the goal.
Although still owned by Liverpool at the time, Harry Wilson continued to be loaned away from the club without making an appearance.
He left permanently for Fulham in the summer.
Derby went on to win the tie on penalties. Wilson converted his spot-kick, before Champions League-winning Red Scott Carson saved off Phil Jones to confirm Derby’s victory.
Andre Wisdom made a substitute appearance without taking a penalty in the shootout.
2019: Barcelona v Manchester United – Champions League Quarter-Final
Philippe Coutinho managed to dismiss his Barcelona woes for long enough to convert as his side sent Manchester United crashing out of the Champions League.
Coutinho’s goal was not massively influential. It took the score to 4-0 on aggregate.
However, after upsetting a lot of Liverpool fans in the way he went about leaving Merseyside, he might have somewhat re-endeared himself to Liverpool fans with the strike.
More recently, Coutinho re-introduced himself to English fans with a debut goal for Aston Villa against United, too.
He is certainly going the right way about saving some face with Liverpool fans after his career went downhill following his departure from the club.
Although a likeness to Andre Wisdom is not something one might expect to see regarding Luis Suarez, the Uruguayan also played in both legs without making a notable contribution in terms of goals.
2020: Manchester United v Sevilla – Europa League Semi-Final
United suffered the pain of being knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla in a one-legged 2-1 loss.
To make matters worse for the Red Devils, their defeat involved a former Liverpool player enjoying himself yet again.
Spanish winger Suso Fernandez scored Sevilla’s first of the evening.
Once tipped for great things at Anfield, Suso never quite earned a place in the first team.
He left in 2015 to join AC Milan and has since enjoyed relative success in his career.
Although he never lived up to expectations at Liverpool, Kopites at least had the chance to enjoy this moment of his career.
2021: Villarreal v Manchester United – Europa League Final
More of a lovable character than a producer of real quality during his time at Liverpool, Alberto Moreno nevertheless remains popular among Liverpool fans.
Moreno came off the bench to see the Europa League final through to penalties.
He then scored his penalty during the shootout as United were defeated.
His performance itself is irrelevant in discussing Moreno versus Man United though, as it is this video that truly made Liverpool fans’ night:
United remain in one cup competition this season.
They will face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League first knockout round.
If Atleti are to defeat United, don’t be surprised to see Luis Suarez pop up with a goal.
(Featured image available under creative commons licence https://www.maxpixel.net/Philippe-Coutinho-Soccer-Sport-Soccer-Player-1275558)