Holy hell, Liverpool straight up BONKED the crap out of Manchester United. Like, it was a historic bonking. That was the largest margin of victory for Liverpool over Manchester United. Liverpool looked up for it from the off, but it took until just before halftime before the Reds could break through. After the half, however, the attack ramped into overdrive, scoring lightening counters, sweeping team moves, and on opportunistic strikes after forcing a turnover.
Below, we take a look at some winners and losers on the night, and attempt to disentangle narrative from fact.
A Hat Trick Of Braces
The Liverpool attack has generated chances this season, but the strikers have struggled to convert at times. That was not an issue today, with each of the starting front three scored a brace in a very efficient day in front of goal. Cody Gakpo opened things up right before the half with a trademark move cutting from the left to the right, finishing low to the far post. His second was a thing of beauty, finishing off a sensational bit of dribbling by Mohamed Salah (Lisandro Martinez is still trying to figure out where Mo went) with Gakpo chipping David de Gea from a tight angle.
Darwin Núñez scored both of his with his head off of assists by Harvey Elliott and Jordan Henderson. Núñez seems to be hitting his stride after pulling the xG slingshot back about as far as it could go and now has four goals and an assist in his last five games.
Mohamed Salah had as about a vintage Mohamed Salah game as there ever has been. The Egyptian King was a menace on the right all match long, showing off his speed, tight control on the dribble, and of course his famous left foot. What’s that you say? He scored both with his right? You do you, Mo. He did get a yellow card for taking his shirt off in celebration after his second goal, but seems worth it.
At Anfield since 2017/18, Mohamed Salah has received more yellow cards for taking his shirt off celebrating against Man Utd (2) than Man Utd have scored goals against Liverpool (1). pic.twitter.com/6STtafOQAh— Squawka (@Squawka) March 5, 2023
That second goal took him past Robbie Fowler for the most Premier League goals in club history. Oh, he also chipped in with two assists for good measure. Like Núñez, Salah is heating up at the pointy end of the season. He has five goals and five assists in his last 10 games.
Just a couple of days after news broke that Bobby would not be returning to Liverpool. Anfield serenaded the Brazilian forward with his song early and often even though he started the match on the bench. Firmino came on the pitch to thunderous applause in the 79th minute, and wasted very little time before getting on the score sheet. He set up the historic Salah goal in the 83rd, and then converted his own in the 88th after tenaciously tracking down the ball in the box and putting it between de Gea’s legs. Not going to lie, I got teary after that (and when he came on).
Don’t look now, but Liverpool have kept five clean sheets in a row (in the Premier League). Ibrahima Konaté was imperious in the back today, snuffing out trouble on more than one occasion in positions the Reds have been beaten in earlier this season without him.
It’s still not pretty at times, but Liverpool have started to dial in the press much better than earlier in the season. Harvey Elliott in particular showed up snapping at people’s heels like an angry goose.
Liverpool’s Top Four Hopes
Look, there is still quite a way to go, and lots of work to be done. This weekend, however, should provide quite a boost to the Reds in their quest to finish in the top four. Along with the win over Manchester United, other results went Liverpool’s way as well. Spurs went full Spurs in a loss to toothless Wolves. They now sit just three points ahead of Liverpool in fourth despite a game in hand.
Meanwhile, Newcastle continued their poor run of form, taking their second loss in a row, and their second loss of the season. They now sit a point behind Liverpool, though the magpies do have a game in hand.
The #FSGOUT Banner
Look, I get it. There are people out there who would prefer new owners. I can’t say I agree, but that’s besides the point. The narrative of having an #FSGOUT banner flying over Anfield before the Reds ran riot over their hated rivals is pretty amusing though. Especially considering it was many of the new signings from the past two seasons or younger squad players who put the Red Devils to the sword.
Dissecting the Narrative
Provided without comment.
Nervous? Behave yourself...— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 4, 2023
"This is the most confident I've been going into a Liverpool game in YEARS!"
❤️ @rioferdy5 is backing Manchester United to get a result at Anfield.#EKO pic.twitter.com/kUDRy74DbH
Cheers Erik pic.twitter.com/uJeTJo7DAG— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) March 5, 2023
What Happens Next
Liverpool have almost a full week to prepare for a trip to bottom-of-the-table Bournemouth. The Reds have not fared well this season against sides who start the week match week on the bottom, but Jürgen Klopp seems to have the squad rounding into form at just the right time.