The home goalkeeper Robin Olsen felt intense relief twice in the opening stages as his jitters around safely securing the ball invited Cavani to hunt it down.
In the first 20 minutes on Merseyside, he was the menace behind one of the standout starts United have delivered under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
There were no goals to crown it, but the performance through that period from the visitors was a marriage of physical dominance and relentless offensive intent.
Cavani was alive to everything, always on the move and persistently troubled Everton’s back five – often by his sheer presence.
As Solskjaer assessed: “He should’ve scored three in the first half, he is a top striker – his movement, the quality.”
Cavani wants to fight for the ball, he wants to finish and he wants to be the forward opponents hate to face. The Uruguayan is all of those things when he is available and afforded minutes.
Having been pushed aside at Paris Saint-Germain, then joining United on deadline day which also required a two-week quarantine period and trying to reach peak fitness after a lengthy period of inaction in France, the marksman’s contributions have been impressive.
“He has been excellent,” Solskjaer said. “He has been injured, he came late and I’m really pleased with his influence in the dressing room, the habits he brings to training, his attitude to the game, you can see how well he looks after himself.
“He has scored some very important goals for us and gives us experience.
“He was out for seven months and we have been patient with him but I think he has made a big impact.”
Early in the second half, Cavani was involved in a feisty encounter with Yerry Mina, which ended with him grabbing the defender near the throat. Under scrutiny of a video review, the striker would have been sent off.
“It’s two South Americans who have had a few battles before, not long ago when they met in qualifications,” was Solskjaer’s judgement.
“This was a proper game of football, with fans, tackles, yellow cards, I enjoyed it.”
Cavani ultimately made his presence count. After being supplied by Anthony Martial in the 88th minute, he motioned inside and then powered a left-footed shot into the far corner from 20 yards.
The provider turned scorer himself on the break to wrap up the win for United and set up a showdown with rivals Manchester City.
It is a repeat of last season’s two-legged semi-final, in which City progressed on aggregate despite losing the second match.
This time around, there will only be one meeting at Old Trafford.
“A semi-final is sometimes worse than the final because it’s the worst possible time to lose a game and go out of the competition,” Solskjaer said.
The Norwegian led his side to the final four of tournaments on three occasions last season without success. He is determined to thwart that trend.
“We know that when we defend well we have players to win us the game, spirit in camp is good, winning gives energy and gives you a boost,” he said.
If Cavani is on the pitch, United also have a pedigreed finisher who lives to tussle with and then terminate the opposition.
This weekend get a £10 free bet with Betfair, when you bet £10 on a Same Game Multi on the Premier League. Terms: Min £10 Same Game Multi bet on any EPL match this Fri – Sun. Free bet valid for 72 hours, awarded at bet settlement. Excludes cashed out bets. T&Cs apply.
#Edinson #Cavani #Fighter #finisher #Manchester #Uniteds #opponents #face