Bruno Fernandes discovered he would not start for Manchester United in their FA Cup tie against Liverpool at the club's Carrington training ground on Saturday afternoon. Usually, when Fernandes is informed he is starting, he is sent indoors to rest up and maintain his freshness for the game. This weekend, he practiced.

Fernandes emerged to score a 78th-minute free-kick to send United through to the fifth round and his set-piece prowess was honed on the training pitch the previous day. "He’s got that quality around the box," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said. "He's proven to give players assists and scoring goals. Today, a very good free-kick he practiced a lot yesterday.

"Whenever he starts, I tell him to go straight in, you can't do extra free-kicks. Yesterday, he was told he wasn't playing so he stayed out practicing for half-an-hour or 45 minutes, I don't know how long. But it worked and it paid off."

The identity of a substitute deciding the tie was apt on what was the 22nd anniversary of United and Liverpool's dramatic FA Cup fourth-round encounter at Old Trafford. Solskjaer settled that unforgettable context off the bench and had an impact from there again, albeit as a manager in his choice of Fernandes to replace Donny van de Beek.

Fernandes and Fred emerged in the 65th minute to halt Liverpool's momentum after they had equalised through Mohamed Salah's second goal and, for the first time this season, United recovered from conceding first to prevail at Old Trafford.

United have now beaten Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolves and Liverpool in FA Cup ties during Solskjaer's stewardship and West Ham United await in the fifth round; another home tie.

"It’s fantastic to win games over last year’s champions, a fantastic team," he added. "And we've had good results in last couple of years, playing different systems.

"This time we played on our terms as well. We've found a way the players believe in and we are getting stronger and stronger. The mentality to come back after being 1-0 down, we've shown that so many times this season, and I feel physically stronger and stronger, and lasting games more.

"You look at the difference to six months back, you can’t take too many big strides at one point, but, gradually, layer by layer, we're getting better and winning tight games, so the morale and the confidence is very good."