Manchester United’s latest shockingly poor performance of what has been a dreadful season ended with a 4-0 defeat to arch-rivals Liverpool at Anfield tonight.
It took just five minutes for title chasing Liverpool to cut through Man United’s shambolic five man defence, with Mohamed Salah breaking down the right and playing a inch perfect ball into the stride of Colombian attacker Luis Dias who duly fired past a hapless David De Gea.
Manchester United fans will have come into the game with low expectations, but even so, the gulf in class and intensity between the two sides was nothing short of embarrassing and on 22 minutes Liverpool deservedly went two up. Sadio Mane played a wonderful first time ball in behind the United defence and into the path of Salah, who took a sublime first touch and slotted home beyond De Gea.
However, complacency seemed to seep into Liverpool’s game at the beginning of the second-half and by the time a dreadful Marcus Rashford meekly shot straight at Alisson from eight yards out, the home crowd let their team know they needed to up their game. That spark would come from Andy Robertson who beat Anthony Elanga to the ball and drove forward before laying the ball off to Dias. The January signing quickly played a cut back to Mane who finished brilliantly first time with his left foot.
Liverpool put the icing on the cake with five minutes left to play when the impressive Robertson played in Salah, with the Egyptian attacker’s deflected shot looping over De Gea.
Man United drop to sixth after tonight’s result and with games against Arsenal and Chelsea coming up their hopes of finishing in the top four look slim. Speaking afterwards interim manager Ralf Rangnick pulled no punches in terms of just how poor his team performed.
“I don’t think a different formation at the start would have changed anything,” Rangnick told Sky Sports. ”The first goal we conceded, it was not part of the game plan to be that high up and concede a counter-attack after five minutes. That changed the game.
🗣 Roy Keane: “There’s no hiding place at this level. There was anger earlier in the season, now it’s just sadness. It’s so sad watching this team. It’s not the club I played for. It’s a really, really sad night.” pic.twitter.com/VBKSBIA4QK
— SPORTbible (@sportbible) April 19, 2022
”The first half, we were just not good enough. We did not win any first ball or second balls. We were second best in all relevant areas. Second half we changed a centre-back with Jadon Sancho. The first 25 minutes we were better and had pressure on the ball at times. Had two or three moments, but the third goal killed the game off.
“For the third goal it came from a ball we should not play. A pressing invitation – 12 yards into Anthony Elanga, who is a player for behind their back line. It is inviting them for those moments and six seconds later the ball was in our net.
“It is embarrassing, it is disappointing, maybe even humiliating. We have to accept they are six years ahead of us now. When Jurgen Klopp came they changed at the club and lifted not just the team but the club and city to a new level. That is what needs to happen with us in the next transfer windows.”