Ole Gunnar Solskjaer humiliated; Mohamed Salah scores three points in beating – .

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer humiliated; Mohamed Salah scores three points in beating – .

The point is, Liverpool weren’t even that good for much of this game. Admittedly, they had been much better against Watford, their passage through midfield was sharper and Trent Alexander-Arnold all the more devastating. If it hadn’t been for the 15-minute period in the middle of the first half when the visiting engine room started to spit, it could have been such a brutal beating that referee Anthony Taylor would have gotten to himself. felt compelled to stop the fight.

If he had, there would have been few dissenting voices among the crowd at Old Trafford. Many of them were long gone when Mohamed Salah scored his third goal as Liverpool claimed a 5-0 victory. It could have been so much more. It was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s nightmarish scenario, which will inevitably intensify the debate over his credentials for the Manchester United job.

Likewise, much of it felt like it had been coming for so long. If the wins over Villarreal and West Ham, among others, were the best Solskjaer could have expected given the way his team played, it was the worst this approach could offer.

The contrast was stark. It’s easy to describe United against Liverpool, Solskjaer against Klopp, as a battle of individualism and collective, but to do so is to diminish the quality of much of the squad in white today. In Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and maybe seven others, the visitors had the best individuals. They existed in a system which enhances their qualities and alleviates their shortcomings. This is the natural result.

It was unclear exactly what United intended to do to prevent Liverpool from creating chances. Were they in a hurry? On occasion Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood seemed to engage in it, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s only notable defensive contribution in the first half was a buffer on Curtis Jones who was rather more offensive, although some didn’t. not seen a red card.

These wide United strikers haven’t backed down like others have. This left huge tracts of land for Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson to move forward. Two of the first three goals came from lower right spaces left vacant by Luke Shaw, who had been dragged into the field by the weight of numbers engaged in the central areas by the Liverpool attack.

It took Paul Pogba’s 60th-minute red card for Solskjaer to close those gaps by moving to a five-man defense. Alexander-Arnold had already put one for Diogo Jota, as had Naby Keita for Mohamed Salah, the two crosses down from acres of space on the right to be exploited at close range. For every goal, it seemed unreasonable to blame Shaw, who had no choice but to deal with his inner shoulder issues.

We would sympathize with the manager if that wasn’t the exact issue they faced four days ago against Atalanta. And four days before against Leicester. Before the game it seemed inevitable that Solskjaer would change something as any top manager would look past the result, assess the opponent’s strengths, his team’s weaknesses and do what he could to alleviate them. There was no evidence United were adjusting to their opposition.

Liverpool, it should be noted, did. Ibrahima Konate offered more mobility at the rear. Diogo Jota added fresh legs to an attack in which Roberto Firmino sparkled. Without Solskjaer’s melodrama, it would be Salah who would make the headlines. His three goals were superbly scored, especially the blow to David de Gea for the fifth after a brilliant assist from Jordan Henderson, but his highlight could have been Keita’s assist, a through pass judged to be perfect. That is, Klopp told CBS Sports last week, the big change that happened over the summer. His status as the best player in the world seems all the more certain with every passing game.

But really, no one needed this game to tell them how good Liverpool and Salah are. It was really about showing Manchester United what a cohesive unit of quality players can achieve.

Every minute of this match seemed destined to inflict maximum humiliation on Solskjaer. Ronaldo found his way to the net as he so often does here only for VAR to judge him offside by the slightest margin. Edinson Cavani kind of hit the bar a few inches. His change at halftime, replacing the energetic Greenwood with Pogba, was questionable even before the Frenchman flew over the ball and into Keita’s leg, being sent off just 15 minutes after entering the game.

As the home fans exited Old Trafford, the chant “Ole’s at the wheel” was heard loud and clear by Liverpool fans. It has been an ongoing social media joke for some time that rival fans have wanted Solskjaer to stay, so convinced they are that he is what lies between United and real success.

It’s a bit cruel to a manager who stabilized this club in the aftermath of a predictable toxic outcome for José Mourinho. He made United a better team than before. But can you imagine his team in top gear, at the very least then they would play as well as Liverpool do when they’re just rolling?


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