Liverpool have climbed to the top of the Premier League table in style after an utterly comprehensive win over rivals Manchester United.
It was one-way traffic at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp’s men ruthlessly tore apart Ralf Rangnick’s “hopeless” Red Devils, with goals from Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah (twice) and Sadio Mane completing a famous 4-0 rout. In truth, much of the game felt like Liverpool going all Harlem Globetrotters on Man Utd and Gary Neville providing an entertaining 90-minute rant about his former club.
“Let’s be clear, this Manchester United side is a waste of space,” he said on Sky Sports commentary midway through the first half. “I’ve been watching Man United for a very long time and this is as bad as it gets, even including during the ’80s. I’ve not seen a group of players so lacking in appetite.”
On that note, here’s how the players rated at Anfield:
Alisson — 8 — The Brazilian didn’t have much to do in terms of keeping the ball out of the back of the net. Man Utd was very effective at doing that themselves. But when called upon, mainly recycling play, his distribution was second to none; the precision of a Swiss watch. He did make a wonderful double save in the second half, mind, which may have just been onside upon VAR’s intervention. So a top, top performance on both fronts!
Trent Alexander-Arnold — 8 — A typically breathless performance from Liverpool’s key playmaker… right-back. The academy wonder charged forward with a breakneck pace and did well after the restart when Rangnick rolled the dice, keeping a lid on Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford when the latter drifted wide to try and make things happen.
Joel Matip — 8 — “He can just go without any fear at all and hope for the best a little bit! But he has that quality. It’s a big strength of theirs and obviously, it’s useful because it drags other players from their position.” That was the observation of Van Dijk about Matip’s ball-playing ability after Liverpool’s 6-0 win over Leeds back in February. And it was another dribbling masterclass from Matip as he charged forward for Liverpool’s breath-taking second. Defensively, he was a bulwark as well.
Virgil van Dijk — 8 — Firm when out of possession, and slick when on the ball. A slight wobble provoked a rare cry from Klopp just after the restart who, for the first time in the match, removed his beaming smirk. But let’s not dwell on the small things. The Dutchman was imperious for most of the match, and justifiably so.
Andrew Robertson — 9 — Crunched into challenges and marauded up the touchline in the expected fashion. It was Robertson’s tireless tackle in the latter stages of the match that inspired Salah’s second. That he was so high up the pitch with five minutes from time pretty much sums up the philosophy of Klopp’s high-octane approach.
Fabinho — 8 — A lighthouse in the middle of the park for Liverpool. The Brazilian was a luxurious axis that Man Utd couldn’t contain. Amid the mad and frantic pace at which Liverpool plays, Fabinho offers a perfect calmness to balance the broth. Tonight was his role in microcosm.
Jordan Henderson — 8 — The silent workhorse in Klopp’s midfield. Henderson executed the first key pass of the match to find Mane in room before the Senegalese sent Salah racing through on goal. Beyond that first bit of inspired play, Henderson was tidiness and tenacity personified, keeping play ticking over as Liverpool’s frontline went to work, eating up grass and putting in the hard yards in typical fashion. If Fabinho was the metronome and Thiago the creative catalyst, then Henderson was the dynamo.
Thiago Alcantara — 10 — Nigel Clough in January 1994, Steven Gerrard in March 2003, Mohamed Salah in October 2021, Thiago in April 2022. This was one of the all-time great Liverpool performances against Man Utd. A match in which Klopp’s talented tempo-setter took the mickey out of Rangnick’s rugged Red Devils. The Spaniard showcased the full breadth of his creative palette, pulling the strings, procuring the ball and almost playing a training-ground rondo alongside Fabinho and Henderson as Man Utd’s midfield turned to stone.
“That’s the best game he’s ever had at Anfield,” Jamie Carragher stated as Thiago came off 10 minutes from time.
Mohamed Salah — 10 — Vintage Salah. The Egyptian produced a masterclass back in October to claim the match ball at Old Trafford, and it was another world-class showing from Man Utd’s ultimate kryptonite. Eager to pick up from where he left off at ‘The Theatre of Dreams, it was a dream start for him when he found himself behind Man Utd’s backline five minutes into the game, superbly picking out Diaz for the deadlock breaker. His second involvement was Puskas worthy, timing his run to perfection to collect Mane’s defence-splitting pass, before slotting cooly past a dejected De Gea. He put the gloss on the route with his second right at the end.
Sadio Mane — 10 — It’s hard not to just give Liverpool’s entire front three maximum reward. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I simply cannot fault the utter ruthlessness in which they picked apart Man Utd, and Mane was a key part of that. An assist, and WOW what an assist (pass of the season!), a goal, and plenty of involvement in all four finishes. Sublime.
Luis Diaz — 10 — Simply sensational. Few superlatives will do justice to Diaz’s scintillating showing this evening. His near-telepathic understanding with Thiago was almost eery in the way they connected, transfixing the terraces with exhibitions of fluid and rhythmic passing patterns. In congested spaces, Diaz found room. A superbly taken goal, both in execution and in timing, while his hand in Liverpool’s second will be forever etched in Kopite folklore. An actual assist for Mane’s goal as well, one that will make the record books.
Diogo Jota (for Diaz 70′) — 7 — Came on 20 minutes from time and wanted to get in on the action. So he did, teeing up Salah for his brace.
Naby Keita (for Thiago 80′) — 6 — Came on to see the game out. Did exactly that.
James Milner (for Fabinho 86′) — N/A — A late cameo from the veteran. A nice touch from Klopp but not too much to take away.
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