Manchester United vs Liverpool Match Analysis

Manchester United were humiliated at Old Trafford by rivals Liverpool in what looks like the beginning of the end for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Liverpool ran riot in this encounter and put five past David de Gea. Mohamed Salah got the match-ball after his hat-trick, while Naby Keita and Diogo Jota also got on the scoresheet. Substitute Paul Pogba was sent off in the second half.

First half: Liverpool expose United’s vulnerabilities

Manchester United, who have been very inconsistent so far this season, came into this game off the back of a morale boosting victory against Atalanta. This game was seen by many as a chance to get United’s season up and running. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made no changes for this clash and this was seen as a surprise by many. Although United won against Atalanta, there were more negatives than positives to take from the game.

The game was extremely cagey in the first few minutes. Neither side took control of possession and there was a sense of nervousness from the Red Devils. However, the first chance fell to United. The Red Devils got out of the Liverpool press and were away. Cristiano Ronaldo found Mason Greenwood, who found Bruno Fernandes free in the box. It was the right man in the right place and the Old Trafford faithful thought they were 1-0 up. Fernandes got the connection all wrong and his effort went into row Z. A massive opportunity for United to take the lead inside five minutes.

As the game went on, Liverpool grew more into the game. The Red Devils were erratic in their pressing and this let Liverpool play through the United midfield with ease. Keita did what Fernandes couldn’t a minute later and kept his composure to give Liverpool the lead. The unnecessary high press from United was played through by one simple pass and Liverpool were through on goal. Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw and Greenwood were all at fault for this goal.

Salah runs riot

In a chaotic five minute spell, Marcus Rashford and Salah both saw their efforts whistle wide. Some horrendous defending from United saw the Merseyside club double their lead. Maguire and Shaw made a mess of it at the back and the ball fell to Trent Alexander-Arnold. In acres of space the attacking fullback found Jota at the back post. Jota slid in to smash the ball into an empty net. If Jota couldn’t reach the chance, James Milner was behind him ready to pounce.

Despite some horrific defending, the Red Devils still had some openings. Shaw struck just wide from range and Greenwood forced Alisson into action. But with United’s questionable tactics and dismal defensive display there would be no coming back. Salah got his first of the night by finishing from close range. The Egyptian then got on the end of a Rashford back-pass and almost got his second of the night. It got more embarrassing for Solskjaer’s men as Salah found space on the right hand side, firing low into the bottom-right corner. Tempers flared as Ronaldo kicked out at Curtis Jones in frustration. The United fans booed their team off the pitch, after a simply abysmal first-half display.

Second Half: Liverpool punish 10 men of United

Solskjær made just one change at the break with Pogba coming on for Greenwood. The United boss went to a diamond shape to try and limit anymore damage. Just minutes later and Liverpool had breached United’s new compact system. Pogba lost possession and Henderson found Salah, who made no mistake one-on-one with De Gea. It was 5-0 and Salah had got his hat-trick.

The Red Devils thought they had one back, when Ronaldo expertly found the back of the net. Referee, Anthony Taylor went to VAR, who ruled the goal out for offside. Matters got worse as Pogba was sent off for a high tackle on Keita. The hosts were down to ten and there was still 30 minutes remaining. The floodgates opened and many United supporters left the ground in anger. De Gea prevented things from getting worse by making an excellent save to deny Alexander-Arnold. Edinson Cavan hit the bar late on from close range.

Liverpool defeat signals end for Solskjaer

It remains to be seen if this will the Norwegians last time leading out this United team, but huge pressure will surround Solskjaer and his side after this unforgivable performance. United will now turn their attentions to next weeks encounter against Spurs, in hope of reducing the eight point gap to league-leaders Chelsea. Liverpool, sit in second place, seven points clear of seventh-placed United and one point off top.

Author: Rajan Sangha

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