Report: Liverpool 7 United 0

Sunday 05 March 2023 18:41

Manchester United suffered a nightmare afternoon, losing 7-0 away to Liverpool.

Despite growing into a tentative first half and carving out plenty of goalscoring opportunities, the hosts took the lead just before half-time through Cody Gakpo. 

Erik ten Hag’s men failed to recover, swiftly conceding a couple of goals and, ultimately, adding six after the break courtesy of a Gakpo second, a brace apiece for Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah, and a late effort from Roberto Firmino.
Casemiro's header was rightly chalked off for offside in the first half.

As expected from a fixture of this nature, no time was wasted from either side getting stuck in, with the Reds penalised for a couple of early fouls in front of a bouncing Anfield. The hosts had more of the ball in the opening 10 minutes, but the best effort came from United with Antony’s trademark curling effort from the edge of the area. Fellow Brazilian Alisson was forced to push it behind after seeing it late through a crowded area, but the subsequent corner resulted in nothing for Ten Hag’s men. 

Jurgen Klopp’s side had their first real sight of goal after an excellent ball gravitated towards Darwin Nunez around the penalty spot, but a last-ditch challenge from Lisandro Martinez prevented the Uruguayan from burying into the back of the net. 

United gradually grew into the game, and used our time on the ball to carve out a handful of great opportunities. The first of which fell to this afternoon’s captain Bruno Fernandes, who was found at the back post via a brilliant whipped cross from Diogo Dalot, but the Portuguese couldn’t direct his header into the bottom corner. The second of which fell to the in-form Marcus Rashford, who went in search of his first goal at Anfield. Our no.10 was found through the middle thanks to a sublime Luke Shaw ball, but his first-time shot was tame and Alisson gathered comfortably. 

In the lead up to the half-time whistle, Casemiro found the net with a headed effort from a Shaw free-kick, but was rightfully flagged offside after making his way into the area a yard or so too early. Moments later, the hosts surged forward and in the blink of an eye, Gakpo gave them the lead. The Netherlands international picked the ball up out wide when Andy Robertson passed inside Fred, before cutting past Raphael Varane and curling it into the corner beyond David De Gea to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead at the break. 

United came out for the second 45 minutes  in need of a goal to get back on level terms. Instead, after just two minutes, the Merseysiders doubled their lead after an electric start to the half. Harvey Elliott was the supplier, firing a cross across the face of goal where Nunez headed in uncontested, after we failed to clear our lines. 

With momentum in their favour, Klopp’s side took full advantage as they attacked the Kop end, and just three minutes after adding their second, Gakpo put them three goals to the good. Salah provided a quality pass into the path of his team-mate, who went on to loft the ball over De Gea and into the bottom corner as things started to unravel for us. 

Ten Hag turned to his bench, namely Scott McTominay and Alejandro Garnacho, to try to find a way back into the game. But Liverpool proved deadly, and just after the hour mark went on to make it four after a faster counter-attack from United’s initial corner. McTominay looked to have intercepted it, but a bit of luck saw the ball fall to Salah, who turned and volleyed in off the crossbar. 
Marcus Rashford saw an effort come off the post but United were well beaten.
With 20 minutes to go, Rashford skipped beyond Alisson with a chance to pull one back but saw his effort bounce back out off the post. Minutes later, Liverpool forward Nunez was on target to head home for his side’s fifth of the game, from a Jordan Henderson cross. 

Salah added the second of his afternoon to make it six towards the latter stages, when Shaw's attempted clearance bounced into his path, before second-half substitute Firmino made it 7-0, squeezing the ball under De Gea, as his side collected all three points to ignite their top-four push while United remain third but our goal-difference has taken a heavy hit, with all the focus now on bouncing back on Thursday, against Real Betis in the Europa League. 
The most difficult of afternoons for everybody associated with United.

Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho (Milner 79), Henderson (Bajcetic 78), Elliot (Jones 85); Salah, Gakpo (Firmino 79), Nunez (Jota 78).

Unused substitutes: Kelleher, Matip, Tsimikas, Carvalho.

Goals: Gakpo 43, 50; Nunez 47, 75; Gakpo 50; Salah 66, 83, Firmino 88.

Bookings: Fabinho, Salah.

United: De Gea; Dalot, Varane, Martinez (Malacia 77), Shaw; Casemiro (Sabitzer 77), Fred (McTominay 58); Antony, Fernandes, Rashford (Elanga 85); Weghorst (Garnacho 58).

Unused substitutes
: Heaton, Maguire, Wan-Bissaka, Sancho.

Bookings: Antony, Martinez, McTominay.