Reds go top as they smash dispirited United

Reds go top as they smash dispirited United

In two matches against Manchester United this season, Liverpool scored nine goals without conceding, a first in the history of this clash.

“I feel saddened watching it, said former United midfielder Paul Scholes, at halftime as Liverpool continued their strong season-ending form with a comprehensive 4-0 win over arch-rivals Manchester United at Anfield under the lights.

Ralf Rangnick named Phil Jones as one of three centre-backs as he switched to three at the back with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Diogo Dalot as the two wing backs.

That did not stop Liverpool carving up the makeshift back five in the fifth minute as Harry Maguire was drawn out of his left centre-back position and the running duo of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold ran beyond the Manchester defence.

A first-time pass from Salah found Luis Diaz in the box, and the Colombian blasted past David De Gea for the opening goal. It looked so easy. Paul Pogba went off injured in the 10th minute and he was replaced by Jesse Lingard.

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The enmity between the teams was laid aside in the seventh minute as the Anfield crowd clapped as one for the loss of Cristiano Ronaldo’s baby boy, which he announced on Monday night but that was the best it got for United fans who made the trip.

Liverpool had a stranglehold on proceedings and they added a second when Sadio Mane’s sumptuous pass found Salah, who had time to control before passing beyond De Gea for the second.

United did not attempt a goal and had just two touches in Liverpool’s box in the first half with 24 per cent of ball possession.

Rangnick made another change at the interval with Jadon Sancho replacing Jones and United reverted to a back four. Sancho had the first United shot on target in the 54th minute-a tame effort, well gathered by Alisson.

Liverpool showed complacency and Alisson had to be called on to make a double save in the 64th minute as United showed some signs of life. But as soon as the pressure started to build on the Reds, Mane eased it right back with a precise finish after Andrew Robertson broke up a United attack just into the Liverpool half.

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He passed to Diaz, who found Mane for his 14th league goal. All three strikers had now scored and assisted in the same match. Salah completed his brace on 85 minutes when Robertson again won the ball and passed to Diogo Jota, who slid a ball through for Salah to loop a finish over De Gea and take his goal tally to 22 for the season.

At least for 24 hours, Liverpool go top of the Premier League by two points over Manchester City who host Brighton on Wednesday.

The extent of work rebuilding United by their next manager-rumoured to be current Ajax manager Eric Ten Hag is stark and the fight to snag a slot in next season’s Champions League whose next match is away to Arsenal on Saturday.

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