Manchester United were beaten 5-0 by Liverpool at Old Trafford in the Premier League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were toothless, lacked any kind of ability to play this game and will be under so much pressure, which will either make or break them. Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick in the game, scoring in the 38th minute, five minutes into added time and one against five minutes into the second half. Naby Keita opened the scoring and was stretched off after Paul Pogba was sent off the the foul. Diogo Jota scored the other goal in the game that saw Liverpool run riot at the Theatre of Dreams.
United started this match positively, getting forward almost straight away, but got nothing despite Bruno Fernandes firing over the crossbar. Liverpool showed their threat soon after, taking the lead in the fifth minute of the match through Naby Keita, who seemed to bust through the defence, who could not get back into position from the midfield. David De Gea tried to make the save with his foot, watching the effort hit the back of the net. Five minutes later, Marcus Rashford had a chance on goal, which was wide of the target and the story of United’s season so far. Solskjaer will need to have impeccable in-game management to gain something.
Despite some positive pressure from United, in the 13th minute of the match Liverpool doubled their lead at the Theatre of Dreams through Diogo Jota, with the assist from Trent Alexander-Arnold. It was the start of a nightmare for United, who have found themselves 2-0 down in the first half for the second time this week. The defence seem to be abject at best with no real improvement, which is alarming. United through, did press Liverpool and have a long period of play in their half, not able to carve out a goalscoring opportunity though, which was even more worrying that the score at the time. This was not going Manchester United’s way.
United started to find more to throw at Liverpool, but it was not paying off. This side were clinical and concise and nothing was going to stop that in this match. United conceded a third goal in the 38th minute of the match, through Mohamed Salah, who has now scored in three consecutive visits to Old Trafford. United were down and out and needed something short of miracle to get out of this with high esteem. In added time, Salah scored his second goal of the game to put Liverpool 4-0 up and cruising towards victory. United faced a hard task ahead of them and getting something from this match would require everything working.
At the start of the second half, Solskjaer made is first substitution with Paul Pogba replacing Mason Greenwood. I am not sure what the manager hopes to achieve from this. Just five minutes into the second half, Liverpool had scored their fifth goal of the game with Salah completing his hat-trick. United did get a goal back through Cristiano Ronaldo minutes later, but he was offside and the goal was taken away. United’s troubles had only just started as before the 60th minute of the match, Pogba was on hot water for a two-footed tackle on Keita, who required a stretcher to come off the pitch. A yellow was given but after VAR, it was a red card.
United were down to ten men, 5-0 down and nothing could get worse than this. Solskjaer made a double substitution in the 63rd minute of the match with Edinson Cavani and Diogo Dalot replacing Rashford and Fernandes. It was too late for damage limitation and it seemed clear that United were not going to get anything from this match. Nothing has been learned since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. That is how it seems. Defeats like this are devastating, especially to the supporters of the club who work themselves hard to pay for their hobby of watching football. As Paul Pogba left the pitch, he did not seem all that bothered.
In the last ten minutes of the match, United had a good chance for a late consolation with Cavani hitting the crossbar. It was not meant to be. United just wanted this match to be over – it already was early into the second have as Liverpool scored their fifth goal. It is a time whereby the pressure at United will be intense as the club looks to find the form to challenge for a win in their matches, let alone trophies. Something has to give in these dire times. The game ended 5-0 for Liverpool, which sees United slip to seventh in the league, level on points with Everton, Leicester City an Arsenal but at the top of that pile because of goals scored and goal difference.
United face Tottenham Hotspur at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday and with both teams losing today and seemingly out of form, it could be a match for United to get back to winning ways, but I doubt it. Spurs will turn up and be there to cause some problems in their own way. United then face Atalanta in the Champions League before welcoming Manchester City to the Theatre of Dreams. The warning signs are there for United, their manager, the coaches and the players. Will they keep this dejected style of football going, or fight for their jobs? It will all come out in the wash. We carry on going until we can go no more.
Goals: Naby Keita 5′, Diogo Jota 13′, Mohamed Salah 38′, 45+5′, 50′
Assists: Mohamed Salah 5′, Trent Alexander-Arnold 13′, Naby Keita 38′, Diogo Jota 45+5′, Jordan Henderson 50′
Manchester United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Greenwood (Pogba 46′), Fernandes (Cavani 62′), Rashford (Dalot 62;); Ronaldo
Substitutes Not Used: Henderson; Bailly; Lingard, Matic, Van de Beek; Sancho
Bookings: Luke Shaw 41′, Cristiano Ronaldo 45+1′, Fred 45+3′, Bruno Fernandes 46′, Harry Maguire 55′, Paul Pogba 61′ s/o, Aaron Wan-Bissaka 86′
Written by John Walker