Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane, and Mohamed Salah all had at least a goal and an assist in a 4-0 demolition of Manchester United at Anfield that sent Liverpool top of the Premier League.
Salah scored twice to claim honors on the day, but there wasn’t really a poor performer on the pitch for the Reds, and there wasn’t a lot for the Red Devils to celebrate on the other side.
[ MORE: Liverpool vs Man Utd player ratings ]
When this Liverpool’s feeling it and this Manchester United is not — which in both cases is often this season — it’s only going to go one way, and United did not have a shot attempt in the first half while managing 144 passes to their hosts’ 438.
Liverpool held nearly 3/4 possession over the course of a very one-sided affair. Man United was without Cristiano Ronaldo, who revealed the loss of his baby son on Monday, and fans of both sides recognized the Portuguese’s family in the 7th minute.
Liverpool goes atop the league with 76 points, two more than Man City who plays Brighton on Wednesday.
United stays sixth with 54 points, three back of Spurs and level on points with Arsenal. Tottenham has played one fewer match and Arsenal two fewer.
Liverpool vs Manchester United final score, stats
Liverpool 2, Manchester United 0
Scorers: Diaz (5′), Salah (22′, 85′), Mane (68′)
Shot attempts: Liverpool 14, Man United 2
Shots on goal: Liverpool 5, Man United 1
Possession: Liverpool 72, Man United 28
Three things we learned from Liverpool vs Manchester United
1. All systems go from Liverpool: We can talk about the abject display from United from selection through execution — the tactics were actually fine — but let’s start with a Liverpool team that’s gone through a brutal stretch of schedule and come out the other end firing on all cylinders.
The front three of Sadio Mane, Luis Diaz, and Mohamed Salah didn’t even need to hit top speed to cook United’s struggling
back three XI. Thiago Alcantara, Fabinho, and Jordan Henderson made the midfield a miserable place for United and the back four had very little to do.
2. The Fred factor: You know that celebrity who picks his best 5-a-side team and it only includes forwards? That’s Manchester United right now, especially given the injuries to Raphael Varane and Fred.
- United is 15W-9D-9L this season, good for 1.64 points-per-game
- The Red Devils are 3W-3D-5L when Fred plays less than a half (0.91 ppg)
- Seven of their nine losses have come without Raphael Varane (Both 1-0)
Now most would accept that Varane’s absences have hurt the club but many United fans have tried to heap blame on Fred and right now you can see why the managers at Old Trafford have leaned on him. Now throw in the fact that Scott McTominay wass only fit for the bench, Phil Jones started, and the only time these days that Harry Maguire looks fast is when he’s in close proximity to Nemanja Matic. You’ve got issues. Big ones.
3. Man United … what are we seeing here? For a club of Manchester United’s size, history, and spend to be this bad is just shocking. When United’s hierarchy considers how they can save face for buying square pegs for round holes, sticking with inexperienced managers for too long, and hiring consultants that just don’t have it, they should just accept as much egg on their face as they can, and give someone carte blanche to fix this. The Red Devils are one or two more quick fixes and/or stop gaps from being a club we tell the next generation, “Them? They used to be special” only to get quizzical looks from those on the listening end.
Man of the Match: Sadio Mane — This entry pass alone would’ve been enough. The Senegalese is having one of the best club and country years in African history and if Liverpool can win the European Cup and Premier League, it’ll be world history stuff. Total team spirit animal.