Liverpool vs Manchester United: Klopp’s Reds humiliate rudderless rivals
Mohamed Salah and Liverpool absolutely clobbered Manchester United with a lethal, four-goal first half en route to a 5-0 win at Old Trafford on Sunday.
United finished with 10 men but even that deserves an asterisk as Liverpool scored five times before Paul Pogba was sent off for a two-footed tackle.
It would surely signal an end for any other manager, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had been deemed secure prior to the game.
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Jurgen Klopp’s Reds were imperious as Salah struck twice to join Naby Keita and Diogo Jota on the first-half score sheet, a 45-minute run that might’ve seen United down to 10 men had Cristiano Ronaldo not been very fortunate to only see yellow card for a foul on Curtis Jones.
Manchester United substitute Pogba was not as fortunate when VAR reviewed the yellow card Anthony Taylor showed him for a studs-up challenge on Keita, who was stretchered off the pitch.
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The win puts Liverpool a point behind leaders Chelsea on the Premier League table, one ahead of Manchester City.
United finishes the weekend three points out of the top four, the first of four teams on 14 points.
Manchester United vs Liverpool final score, stats
Final score: Liverpool 5, Manchester United 0
Goals scored: Keita (5'), Jota (13'), Salah (38', 45'+5', 50')
Red card: Pogba (61')
Shots: Liverpool, 18-10
Shots on target: Liverpool, 8-3
Possession: Liverpool 63%
Three Four things we learned from Manchester United vs Liverpool
1. Ole Gunnar Solsk-fired? Man United’s boss has been deemed safe by nearly every report prior to this game but it’s difficult to believe that 95% of managers in the world wouldn’t be in serious trouble after going down 4-0 at home to their rivals after 45 minutes in such a big game. Now throw in Solskjaer using the same Starting XI as a midweek 3-2 comeback win over Atalanta in the UEFA Champions League, especially when the lineup excludes Paul Pogba, and, well, wow. Pogba has started for a World Cup winner and a scudetto winner, so not starting consecutive matches while Fred, Scott McTominay, and Mason Greenwood keep their place? Insane. Then again, Pogba lasted all over 16 minutes when he entered the game with the Reds down 4-0, a straight red ending his day.
2. Incredible Liverpool: Take nothing, or very little, away from Liverpool. The Reds did allow a huge early chance to Bruno Fernandes but they were otherwise solid as a rock. Mohamed Salah’s near-perfect form allowed him to complete a hat trick when he made a rare and minor error on a heavy touch toward David De Gea. The Reds didn’t even look like they were showing off, just executing a system against a team that doesn’t have one. Liverpool coasted up a man at 5-0, showing just how little they feared the Red Devils. Moreover, they didn’t even mind their rivals with anything other than pity.
3. How is that not a red? Cristiano Ronaldo somehow dodged a red card from referee Anthony Taylor and escaped VAR review from a kick to the midsection of Curtis Jones and two follow-up digs at “the ball,” which was stuck up against the prone Jones. Perhaps Taylor and VAR are giving Ronaldo a break because he’s Ronaldo, he hits the ball, and the game was already 2-0, but it’s difficult to believe any other player wouldn’t be in the showers immediately after the offense.
4. Maguire in the worst patch of his Man Utd career: Harry Maguire simply cannot be 100% right now. He must’ve been pushed back into action after Raphael Varane was injured. There is no other logical explanation for how bad Maguire’s looked over the last week -- although he did score a big goal last week -- and all you have to do is watch Luke Shaw to see how often the left back feels compelled to stay closer to Maguire than most center backs.
Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah
Pretty straightforward, yeah?
Manchester United vs Liverpool recap
United had a moment right off the kick, as Bruno Fernandes’ first touch of a Marcus Rashford-inspired chance took him wide and the Portuguese lashed over the goal.
It was 1-0 to the other guys moments later, as a lightning counter saw Mohamed Salah set up Naby Keita for a fine finish.
2-0 came soon.
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This time Keita was central as Harry Maguire clattered into teammate Luke Shaw, and Liverpool was queueing up at the back post for Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross. Diogo Jota got the goal.
Salah then was first-to-react to make it 3-0 and was left wide open at the back post for 4-0.
Wedged in between was Cristiano Ronaldo’s petulant fouling of Curtis Jones which was somehow only a yellow card (See Thing No. 3, above).
Salah completed his hat trick before Ronaldo made it 5-1 when he worked past Alexander-Arnold and Ibrahima Konate to curl a beautiful shot inside the far post... but wait! Ronaldo was offfside.
That’s when the wheels, which had already come off, actually exploded when Pogba was shown a red card following VAR review of his hard sliding tackle of Keita.