Liverpool 4 - 0 Manchester United
Reds: Diaz 5’, Salah 22’ 85’, Mané 68’
The Other Team from Manchester: N/A
Nothing less than all three points will do tonight for the Reds. In order to do so, they’ll need to look past the occasion (i.e. the biggest fixture in English football) and prove their superiority over this disjointed and poor Manchester United side. It probably won’t be as easy as the 5-0 away was, but Liverpool absolutely have the talent and mindset to repeat that dominant performance, if not the exact score line. Though I certainly wouldn’t say no to another 5-0.
Liverpool will be without Roberto Firmino, who misses with a minor foot injury. Otherwise, they’ll be good to go, with arguably their strongest XI. Henderson is in for Naby Keita, and Konaté makes way for Joel Matip. Up front, it’s Sadio Mané through the middle, flanked by Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz.
Three points, and Liverpool will once again top the league and it will be City’s turn to respond (or hopefully not) tomorrow.
Liverpool are right into these from the off, passing it about with pace and pressing like mad to get it back quickly. Alisson nearly gives the entire Kop a heart attack—twice—within the opening 5 minutes! Regardless, he keeps possession and things ticking over, and then...
GOAL! It’s an early goal for Liverpool, and it’s a thing of beauty! Salah is played through on goal, and he is in acres of space to drive into the box and put it on a plate for Diaz to fire home. The United defense was all over the show, but take nothing away from these Reds who made them pay early.
United are forced into an early sub. Paul Pogba has either picked up a knock or decided that he just doesn’t fancy any more of this. Lingard is on in his place.
Liverpool have been well on top in the opening 15 minutes. They are dangerous with the ball and absolutely suffocating without it. Another goal or two would be nice while they have United on the ropes, before their energy levels understandably drop.
GOAL!! Mo ends his goal drought and doubles the lead! Mané plays Mo in with a brilliant chip over the top of the United—for lack of a better word—defense. Salah takes a touch and then finishes past De Gea.
As it nears halftime, Liverpool’s intensity has dropped, but they’re still first to every ball, dominating possession, and looking dangerous. The Kop is now singing “The ball, the ball, you haven’t touched the ball.” They ain’t lying.
Alisson ends the half with a flying karate kick volley to cut out a potential United attack. Speaking of the United attack, or lack thereof, the visitors haven’t registered a single shot yet. Have I said that Liverpool have been dominant yet?
Jadon Sancho comes on for Phil Jones to start the second half, meaning they’ll only have one more sub available for the last 45. The change pays early dividends, as the visitors win a corner in the opening minutes of the half. However, it doesn’t take long for normal service to resume; Liverpool are quickly back on top and passing it around the park with ease.
Sancho manages to record United’s first shot in the 55th minute of play. So, congrats I guess?
On the hour mark United have managed to at least look competitive this half, although they still haven’t really managed to worry the Reds. Rashford managed to create a pair of decent chances, but Alisson had it covered (as he so often does).
GOAL!!! It’s Sadio’s turn to get on the score sheet! Robertson wins it back in his own half, and then drives forward, laying it off for Diaz, who then squares it for Mané to finish first time. These Reds are something else.
The front three all have a goal and an assist tonight. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. The assist was actually Diaz’s final touch; Jurgen brings on Diogo Jota in his place.
With 10 minutes remaining, Klopp brings off Thiago (to a deserved standing ovation), replacing him with Naby Keita.
United supporters are once again streaming for the exit. It’s a thing of beauty and I could get used to seeing it more often.
GOAL!!! Mo gets another! Diogo plays a brilliant ball through the lines for Mo to run onto, and his shot takes a bit of a lucky deflection off Wan Bissaka over De Gea and into the goal. Lucky or not, it’s well deserved.
Klopp brings on his victory cigar, James Milner to see out the match, replacing Fabinho.
Things are getting ugly out there, with some nasty challenges being thrown in, especially from Bruno Fernandes, who honestly deserved a straight red for booting Alexander-Arnold at knee height. Hannibal Mejbri should also be off after two yellow/orange challenges in quick succession. Robbo, to no one’s surprise, is trying to wind Mejbri up further.
Final Thoughts and Man of the Match
Liverpool complete the double over United for the first time since 2013/14. And what a double! 9-0 on aggregate, and the gulf in quality is readily apparent for all to see. The Reds also go top, ratcheting up the pressure on Man City. These Reds are going nowhere.
Not sure how I’m going to pick just five players for the Man of the Match, but here’s my best shot.
Who was Liverpool’s Man of the Match vs. Manchester United?
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