Liverpool thump United to take back top spot in the Premier League

Liverpool produced a simply stunning performance as they blew a poor Manchester United side away.

A Luis Díaz strike, coupled with a Mohamed Salah brace, either side of a Sadio Mane goal gave Jurgen Klopp’s team all three points as they marched back to the top of the Premiership.

Albeit temporarily perhaps, as Manchester City take on Brighton and Hove Albion on Wednesday, as they bid to reclaim their place at the summit.

And this was another historic win as it ensured that Liverpool put an aggregate of nine goals past United in a single season, having done the double over their old rivals, after delivering a 5-0 hammering at Old Trafford in October.

That ultimately proved the beginning of the end for then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who was soon sacked after three years in charge.

The manner of this win further highlighted the gulf in class between the two teams. If October’s result hadn’t done so already.

Liverpool in first, 22 points ahead of United languishing in sixth place.

It is not too dissimilar to 2020, when the Merseysiders were crowned champions of England for the first time in 30 years, and finished a mammoth 33 points ahead of United.

Poor Ralf Rangnick looked shell-shocked and confused in this defeat. A mere one goal short of his predecessor’s penultimate drubbing.

It showed just how big a job this will be for Ajax’s incoming Erik ten Hag when he arrives at Old Trafford this summer.

First-half

Klopp’s men made a fast start after just five minutes, as some intricate football in the middle of the park between Salah, captain Jordan Henderson and Mane saw Liverpool breakaway at lightning speed as United were lost at sea.

The Senegalese sent Salah sprinting away, as he retrieved the ball for a move he helped start, and the Egyptian sent the ball flying across goal to fellow attacker Luis Díaz who slammed into a near empty net, for an easy but well worked team goal.

The Colombian celebrated looking ecstatic with Andy Robertson as Anfield erupted.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Luis Fernando Diaz Marulanda (@luisdiaz19_)

 

In the seventh minute, both sets of supporters showed a nice gesture to the absent Cristiano Ronaldo, applauding him after the sad loss of his partner’s new-born baby.

The visitors certainly missed the attacking talents of the Portuguese as they looked devoid of all ideas up front and in the attacking third, failing to carve out any clear-cut chances.

Liverpool soon doubled their lead as more sublime passing and build up play involving the impressive Díaz, saw Mane curl a fantastic ball through to Salah who controlled the ball before rifling into the bottom corner of the net, ending his mini goal drought.

It was a world class finish from one of the world’s best players, and was further evidence of how good the connection and years of understanding between Salah and Mane has become.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by James Milner (@jamesmilnerofficial)

Díaz soon thought he had a second, as Fabinho’s miscued pass across goal was missed by Salah, but found by the Colombian who tapped home, similar to the opening goal but, the difference being this was ruled out for offside.

The 25-year-old shaking his finger as he ultimately knew it would be chalked off.

But it mattered not as Liverpool were in cruise control as they went in ahead 2-0 at half-time.

Second-half

United did to their credit carve out one significant goal-scoring opportunity as Jadon Sancho cut inside, and teed up Marcus Rashford but the England striker could only shoot straight at the onrushing Alisson.

Then youngster Anthony Elanga also fired directly at the Liverpool stopper but the flag was up for offside and wouldn’t have counted anyway.

But Liverpool at last got their third in the 68th minute as Robertson intercepted, turning defence into attack, as Liverpool broke away at pace on the counter-attack, the influential Díaz setting up Mane, who stroked the ball home with his wand of a left boot, for another beautiful passage of play and a very fine team goal.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Virgil van Dijk (@virgilvandijk)

The game was certainly over, if it wasn’t already, five minutes from time as Diogo Jota’s through ball was met by Salah, who controlled then dinked the ball delicately over David de Gea, for his 30th goal of an incredible season for him, before doing his trademark Egyptian king celebration for the second time of the match.

A happy Klopp

After the game, the boss had this to say.

“A really good game. Wonderful goals. Everyone is happy.

“First half, we were in charge of the game. Our counter-press was second to none.

“United is not in a good moment, but they will come back. As for our fans, they can enjoy it,” he said.

When asked about the performance of Spanish midfield maestro Thiago Alcântara, the German smiled and said:

“Yeah, not bad! He’s a world-class player, and we have to make sure he is ready for as many games as possible. He can be very dangerous.”

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Thiago Alcantara (@thiago6)

The gaffer also spoke about the show of support for Ronaldo and his family.

“Loved it, loved it, that’s exactly how football should be,” said Klopp.

“All rivalry aside in this moment, it was a show of class, and of course all of our thoughts, from the moment we heard about it, are with Cristiano and his family.

“I cannot even imagine how it must be, and we really feel for him.”

James Spencer

My name is James and I have supported Liverpool since I was 6 years old. My favourite players growing up were Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyypia. My most memorable match would be the UEFA Cup Final win over Deportivo Alaves that finished 5-4 to Liverpool! I am studying journalism in Manchester although I am a Liverpool fan through and through.

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