For the first time in many recent seasons, Manchester United and Liverpool are exchanging different tales in this campaign of league and cup competitions. The Red Devils are now thriving under new manager Erik ten Hag, whereas Jürgen Klopp’s Kop side is pretty much struggling throughout the season. These meant both teams went into the Battle of Reds at Anfield with a distinctive reason, but little did anyone know the score line would be this overwhelming. As things stand, Liverpool reigned supreme against Manchester United with a 7-0 victory at home and moved within three points from the Top Four spot in the league table.
Kop Hit Six in the Second Half
Erik ten Hag chose to field his starting 11 that beat Newcastle United 2-0 in the Carabao Cup Final at the end of last month, while Klopp made three changes to his Liverpool squad that overcame Wolverhampton 2-0 in the last Premier League outing, with captain Jordan Henderson, Andrew Robertson, and Cody Gakpo all coming in for the German coach. Interestingly, it is Liverpool’s new winter purchase and former United target Gakpo who drew first blood for the Reds in the first 45 minutes, when the out-of-position Diogo Dalot allowed the winger to break free on the left flank and hit a clean finish at the far post.
The strike kickstarted a goal feast for the home side in the second period, as another new signing Darwin Núñez doubled Liverpool’s lead two minutes after the resume of play. Erik ten Hag’s men were unable to clear the ball away around their own penalty area, letting Harvey Elliott to deliver a cross for the Uruguayan forward to score his 14th goal of the season. Gakpo then put the game beyond reach for the visitors, when a devastating counterattack by Klopp’s side shattered United’s defence in pieces, before the Dutchman carefully placed the ball into the back of the net.
Liverpool’s fourth goal of evening came from another counterattack, after Núñez’s pass found Salah around the penalty spot, and the Egypt captain smashed the ball over David de Gea. The Uruguayan was again involved in a Kop goal, as he scored through another header in the 75th minute. Manchester United was deflated at this point even though they had numbers before the goal, but Liverpool was not content with five.
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Dalot and Shaw United’s Culprits
In the 83rd minute, chaotic run of plays in United’s own penalty area let the ball fell before Salah’s feet, in which the Egyptian strike it in for his second goal of the evening. The 30-year-old forward’s goals leapfrogged him over Robbie Fowler to become Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer in the Premier League. Kop’s icing on the cake came just five minutes after Salah’s 129th career Premier League goal for the Reds, when the outgoing Roberto Firmino, who came on nine minutes earlier, scored Liverpool’s seventh goal of the night with his close-range effort.
Klopp: “Tonight It Was Perfect.”
55-year-old Klopp was a happy man during the post-match conference, after his team revenged on United for its 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford when both teams met for the first time earlier this season. He said: “No words, spectacular football game, outstanding. We played top football against the team in form. In the second half the start was pretty good, the finish was pretty good, and everything was pretty good. That’s football and it can happen. United played a super season and we are not really happy with our season so far, but it doesn’t mean anything for the game. Today we were the clear better side for this moment, and we got a very important three points for us.”
As for the losing manager, ten Hag showed no mercy in condemning his players’ poor performance in the match, stating that the team was unrecognisable as compared to their brilliant run of form prior to this clash. The 7-0 defeat to Liverpool is Manchester United’s and the Dutchman’s worst defeat in more than 90 years and his managerial career respectively, in which he responded with a statement that read “I have had some bad days, but also other days if you do the right things, if you react with the right measures as a manager and as a team, then you can learn a lot from it, and you can strengthen your mentality”.
Manchester United will now turn its attention to a game against Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 at home next. You can watch the game live at AsiaSport.com.