Liverpool 7 - 0 Manchester United
Liverpool: Gakpo 43’ 50’, Nunez 47’ 75’, Salah 66’ 83’, Firmino 88’
Manchester United: 0 goals, yeah none whatsoever
Jurgen Klopp has lined up a midfield of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Harvey Elliott for the Northwest Derby, with Stefan Bajcetic on the bench. Cody Gakpo is playing striker today flanked by Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez. Bobby Firmino is on the bench in what is most likely his last Derby against United as he prepares to depart the club this summer (*sob*).
The game starts on an energetic note with the crowd at Anfield present at full pitch and full throat. Liverpool look intentional, playing a few neat team sequences with an intensity rarely seen this season. United threatens on the counter a few times, and at 9’ Anthony drags Liverpool’s defence wide and hits the ball towards Alisson who manages to swat it out of the way. Liverpool continue to drive the ball forward at the other end, but fumble in the final few yards. At 22’, Andy Robertson swings in the ball from the far left and Darwin Nunez charges forward at lightning speed with an attempt but David De Gea saves it. Liverpool have 7 attempts and 0 shots on target in the first 25 minutes, while United have 1 attempt and 1 shot on target. At 41’ Casemiro heads in a free kick by Bruno Fernandes, but luckily it’s deemed offside. At 43’ Robertson sends a sensational flying pass all the way down the left flank to Cody Gakpo, who in his signature style from PSV, swerves between defenders and slots it in - GOAL to Liverpool and what a moment for young Gakpo!!! The half ends 1-0 to Liverpool.
The whistle has barely been blown for the second half, and a gritty team sequence initiated by Fabinho and involving Elliott and Salah sends the ball towards Nunez who heads it in catching United’s defence unaware - GOAL to the Reds at 47’! Minutes later at 50’, Salah plays the ball down the right flank and ends Lisandro Martinez’s career with his trademark zigzag movements, and then passes the ball to Gakpo who dinks it into the far corner of the net - GOAL AGAIN! Mo scores again at 66’ in a confident display that we’ve rarely seen this season, and he looks like he’s enjoying himself on the pitch once again, as he destroys the lives and mental health of United defenders. At 75’, Henderson sends a soaring cross from the left towards the box and Nunez heads it in - GOAL - not the prettiest one but it does the job. United are getting desperate with a few testy outbursts from Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes. United fans are seen leaving Anfield stadium. Salah and Firmino round off the night with one more goal apiece at 83’ and 88’ with United defenders unable to contain Liverpool’s waves of confident attack. The scoreline ends like a fairytale at 7-0 to Liverpool Football Club.
With stalwarts like Sadio Mane departing last year, and Firmino set to leave this summer, it’s a new era for Klopp and tonight was as good a night as any for newcomers Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez to make their presence felt and contribute in a meaningful way. After an initial burst of energy, Liverpool’s pace slowed as half time approached and United showed more dominance. But whatever happened in the half-time team huddle unleashed a previously known monster, the Liverpool of the past few years - relentless pressing, confident ball retention, intentional and accurate passes, and the finishing - oh the fantastic finishing that we’ve sorely missed of late. This season has been hard in the Premier League, and being tortured by Real Madrid’s dark magic in Europe recently has further salted wounds. This new permutation of players has struggled to be in sync and find their collective rhythm. But a 7-0 drubbing of United on a magical night at Anfield is the perfect occasion to perhaps once again find their mutual spark, set up a top four push, and from there to turn focus towards next season.