Rampant Reds humiliate ‘EMBARRASSING’ rivals to move top of table as Mo Salah hits double

PEP GUARDIOLA was watching from home but will have switched off halfway through the first half and done something more rewarding.

Anyway, the Manchester City manager had surely already seen enough of the club’s shambolic neighbours this season to not rely on them.

Mo Salah celebrates his second as a rampant Liverpool beat Man Utd 4-0 at AnfieldCredit: EPA

Luis Diaz opened the scoring for Liverpool against Manchester United after just five minutes

Luis Diaz opened the scoring for Liverpool against Manchester United after just five minutesCredit: AFP

Diaz reacts after slotting the ball past David De Gea early on at Anfield

Diaz reacts after slotting the ball past David De Gea early on at AnfieldCredit: EPA

The end of this season is proving to be a bit special but here was the least surprising result.

For 24 hours at least, Liverpool returned to the summit of the Premier League for the first time since October.

Jurgen Klopp’s quadruple-chasing team, inspired by the brilliant Thiago Alcantara, took another step towards delivering the most successful season in the club’s history.

And in total and utter contrast, this weak and shambolic United team illustrated exactly why this is the club’s worst team since the 1980s.

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Man Utd miss Ronaldo's presence up top as they receive hammering by Liverpool
Mohamed Salah doubled the Reds' lead with a curling effort in the 22nd minute

Mohamed Salah doubled the Reds’ lead with a curling effort in the 22nd minuteCredit: Rex

Salah capped off a fine team move after being played in by Sadio Mane

Salah capped off a fine team move after being played in by Sadio ManeCredit: Reuters

Two of Liverpool’s easiest wins in the Premier League have come against United as this followed the 5-0 battering at Old Trafford in October.

While Guardiola was watching the game, so too would have been United’s manager-in-waiting Erik ten Hag.

He could have been forgiven for changing his mind and blocking all calls from Manchester on his mobile phone.

To see the difference between Liverpool and United, take another look at Mo Salah’s goal in the 22nd minute.

Liverpool got their third of the night through Senegalese star Mane in the 68th minute

Liverpool got their third of the night through Senegalese star Mane in the 68th minuteCredit: Getty

Mane celebrates his goal with Jordan Henderson after firing into the bottom right corner

Mane celebrates his goal with Jordan Henderson after firing into the bottom right cornerCredit: Reuters

The Egyptian had not scored in his previous six matches so was always going to end his worst goal run for three years.

Salah completed a move involving 25 passes and 10 players – including keeper Alisson – all touched the ball as they toyed mercilessly with United’s players.

Not many teams could have lived with a Liverpool team putting together a move like this.

Equally, you have to wonder about the state of the Premier League if United end the season as the sixth best team in England.

Salah sealed the victory in the 85th minute after his deflected effort looped over De Gea

Salah sealed the victory in the 85th minute after his deflected effort looped over De GeaCredit: Reuters

Rangnick said after the game: “It’s embarrassing. It’s completely disappointing and humiliating.

“We just have to accept they are six years ahead of us.”

The best comparison out there was Luiz Diaz, the signing from Porto in January, who once again caused all sorts of problems and scored the opening goal in under five minutes and set up Sadio Mane’s third. 

Luiz cost £37m. Swap those two numbers around and you have the transfer fee for Jadon Sancho, one of United’s big signings last summer but he who only arrived as a second half substitute for Phil Jones.

Aware of the early storm his team faced, Ralf Rangnick started with a five-man defence which included Jones, making only his second appearance in the Premier League since January 2020.

The idea was that playing right-footed Diogo Dalot at left wing-back would help deal with Mo Salah cutting inside from the right.

Sir Alex Ferguson cut a frustrated figure in the stands

Sir Alex Ferguson cut a frustrated figure in the standsCredit: Premier League

Paul Pogba lasted just ten minutes before he went off with an injury

Paul Pogba lasted just ten minutes before he went off with an injuryCredit: Reuters

That was the plan, anyway.

But Dalot was caught out completely as Liverpool attacked down the right through Salah and he delivered a low cross for Diaz to smash the ball in unchallenged. 

So even before Liverpool’s fans, impressively, applauded United No7 Ronaldo in the seventh minute after the United player mourned the death of his baby boy, United found themselves trailing.

Booed off by his own fans against Norwich on Saturday, Paul Pogba was jeered as he hobbled off the pitch in under 10 minutes to be replaced by Jesse Lingard.

Depending on the injury, that could even be Pogba’s last appearance in a United shirt.

Then came the second goal which put an early end to this total mismatch.

Tensions threatened to boil over between De Gea and Trent Alexander-Arnold following Diaz's goal

Tensions threatened to boil over between De Gea and Trent Alexander-Arnold following Diaz’s goalCredit: Rex

This was fabulous, fantasy football, Diaz was involved again, of course, but so was defender Joel Matip with some great skill in an area where he should be getting a nosebleed.

Ultimately, it was Mane who curled a wonderful pass looping over the head of Harry Maguire and Salah took one touch before sidefooting a shot beyond a helpless David De Gea.

United offered nothing up front. Marcus Rashford got in behind the home defence once in the first half but his first touch was dreadful.

Rangnick replaced Sancho for Jones at half-time and there was more balance in the team and they had a decent 10 minutes or so.

Alisson delivered a double save to debut Rashford and Anthony Elanga but despite the linesman’s flag, a VAR check could have fallen in United’s favour had one of their players scored.

With Liverpool sort of drifting, Mane struck for a fifth goal in five games but only his second against United.

Liverpool fans showed their support for Cristiano Ronaldo by clapping in the seventh minute following the death of his newborn son

Liverpool fans showed their support for Cristiano Ronaldo by clapping in the seventh minute following the death of his newborn sonCredit: PA

Andy Robertson beat Elanga to a challenge to set up the attack but again, it was down to the brilliance of Diaz who spotted Mane hovering around the penalty spot to finish easily.

With five minutes left, Salah completed the misery with a shot which took a slight deflection off Aaron Wan-Bissaka and floated over the head of De Gea.

For Liverpool, they will now focus on another massive match and the Merseyside derby against Everton on Sunday.

As for United, they just look broken and in disarray. The season cannot come soon enough.

And the fact they have just lost 9-0 on aggregate to Liverpool sums up their sorry state.

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