Match ends, Liverpool 7, Manchester United 0.
Liverpool delivered the complete performance and Mohamed Salah became the club’s record Premier League goalscorer as Manchester United were overwhelmed at a joyous Anfield.
United’s renaissance under manager Erik ten Hag already has the tangible reward of the Carabao Cup but Liverpool unleashed a brutal reality check on their progress with a severe thrashing.
Liverpool took control of what had been a tight game, with Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford missing presentable chances, when former Old Trafford target Cody Gakpo applied a smooth finish to Andy Robertson’s perfect pass two minutes before the break.
The second half was a tale of sheer joy for Liverpool and unrelenting misery for United, starting after 47 minutes when Darwin Nunez’s header diverted Harvey Elliott’s driven cross past goalkeeper David de Gea.
Salah bamboozled Lisandro Martinez to play in Gakpo for another classy finish three minutes later before the Egyptian resumed his long-time role of United tormentor by getting on the scoresheet himself.
Salah ended a swift counter-attack by lashing a finish high past De Gea and the rout continued as Nunez flashed another header in from Jordan Henderson’s cross.
Salah then scrambled in the sixth to become Liverpool’s highest Premier League goalscorer with 129, passing Robbie Fowler. He is also Liverpool’s highest marksman against Manchester United with 12 – and 10 of those have come in his past five encounters.
And in a fitting finish, Roberto Firmino – who has announced he is leaving Anfield at the end of the season – completed a remarkable game by making it 7-0 from close range.
This is the biggest win in the history of the fixture, passing Liverpool’s 7-1 victory in the 1895-96 Second Division.
Liverpool are now an ominous presence in the chase for the Champions League places, standing only three points behind Tottenham with a game in hand.
Liverpool find the fire and fury
Liverpool have resembled a shadow of their real selves this season. The old guarantees, such as intensity and firepower, have been missing far too often.
They all returned here – and how – in the most spectacular manner as Manchester United, who have been undergoing a revival this season, were blown away by a team in full cry.
Once Jurgen Klopp’s side took control of a tightly contested game just before half-time, they were ruthless. They scored seven, and missed chances to get more.
Klopp wanted this to be a pivotal week in the race for the top four as his team look to salvage something from a season that has, to this point, been below par.
His players responded. Wolverhampton Wanderers were beaten at Anfield and United, to put it mildly, outclassed.
Liverpool won 5-0 at Old Trafford and 4-0 at Anfield in the Premier League last season while United had a 2-1 win at home early in this campaign to get the Ten Hag era going – and this was another remarkable game to add to that catalogue.
Gakpo was on United’s wanted list before he moved to Liverpool in January and his two cool finishes showed why Ten Hag was a fan. Nunez demonstrated his growing threat with a double while Salah always rises to the occasion against United and punished them once more.
There was even the perfect finale of a goal in front of the Kop for Firmino, who announced on Friday he would end a great Liverpool career at the conclusion of this season.
Liverpool manager Klopp resisted a fist pump celebration in front of the Kop – but for him, this day could not have gone any better.
Man Utd embarrassed
In seven days, Manchester United have gone from the high of their first trophy since 2017 with the Carabao Cup win against Newcastle United at Wembley to the pain of abject humiliation at Anfield.
Bizarrely, United were right in this game for 43 minutes, with Fernandes and Rashford missing arguably the game’s two best chances before Gakpo scored and the sky fell in on Ten Hag’s team.
United have had a heavy programme of fixtures but the manner in which they capitulated must be an embarrassment for manager, players and fans. There can be no excuses.
Argentine defender Martinez, normally so reliable and combative, was taken apart, especially when Salah led him a merry dance to set up Gakpo to settle the game with Liverpool’s third five minutes after half-time.
To lose against Liverpool is a painful business at any time but to be on the receiving end of what was a record defeat in this fixture will send shock waves through Old Trafford. They must have thought it could not get worse than the 5-0 home thrashing last season – but this was and was inflicted in front of an ecstatic Anfield.
Manchester United must now lick their wounds and return to Europa League action at home to Real Betis on Thursday – and those wounds will hurt after this beating at the home of their arch-rivals.
Player of the match
Mohamed SalahMohamed Salah
Squad number11Player nameMohamed SalahAverage rating
Squad number18Player nameGakpoAverage rating
Squad number27Player nameNúñezAverage rating
Squad number9Player nameRoberto FirminoAverage rating
Squad number26Player nameRobertsonAverage rating
Squad number19Player nameElliottAverage rating
Squad number4Player namevan DijkAverage rating
Squad number14Player nameHendersonAverage rating
Squad number5Player nameKonatéAverage rating
Squad number66Player nameAlexander-ArnoldAverage rating
Squad number43Player nameBajceticAverage rating
Squad number3Player nameFabinhoAverage rating
Squad number7Player nameMilnerAverage rating
Squad number20Player nameDiogo JotaAverage rating
Squad number1Player nameAlissonAverage rating
Squad number17Player nameJonesAverage rating
Squad number10Player nameRashfordAverage rating
Squad number1Player namede GeaAverage rating
Squad number18Player nameCasemiroAverage rating
Squad number6Player nameLi MartínezAverage rating
Squad number19Player nameVaraneAverage rating
Squad number17Player nameFredAverage rating
Squad number20Player nameDiogo DalotAverage rating
Squad number49Player nameGarnachoAverage rating
Squad number15Player nameSabitzerAverage rating
Squad number27Player nameWeghorstAverage rating
Squad number21Player nameAntonyAverage rating
Squad number12Player nameMalaciaAverage rating
Squad number23Player nameShawAverage rating
Squad number36Player nameElangaAverage rating
Squad number39Player nameMcTominayAverage rating
Squad number8Player nameBruno FernandesAverage rating
- 4van Dijk
- 19ElliottSubstituted forJonesat 85′minutes
- 3FabinhoBooked at 41minsSubstituted forMilnerat 79′minutes
- 14HendersonSubstituted forBajceticat 78′minutes
- 11SalahBooked at 84mins
- 18GakpoSubstituted forFirminoat 79′minutes
- 27NúñezSubstituted forJotaat 78′minutes
- 1de Gea
- 6Li MartínezBooked at 61minsSubstituted forMalaciaat 77′minutes
- 18CasemiroSubstituted forSabitzerat 77′minutes
- 17FredSubstituted forMcTominayat 58′minutesBooked at 64mins
- 21AntonyBooked at 53mins
- 27WeghorstSubstituted forGarnachoat 58′minutes
- 8Bruno Fernandes
- 10RashfordSubstituted forElangaat 85′minutes
- Andy Madley