Liverpool didn’t just beat Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday to move fifth in the Premier League table, they embarrassed the Red Devils in a manner never seen before in the storied rivalry between these two clubs.
With the 7-0 scoreline, thanks in large part to a brace from Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, a number of records were shattered on multiple levels, with team, matchup, and individual marks all falling in one 90-minute performance.
In addition to Salah’s exceptional performance, Cody Gakpo provided a pair, Darwin Nunez also had a brace, and Roberto Firmino got in on the action late off the bench. It was a resounding rubber stamp from the Reds which moved them within striking distance of the Champions League places, a surprising development given their palpable struggles throughout the season.
For Manchester United, the embarrassment all but ends their hopes of pushing Arsenal and Manchester City for a Premier League title, as they now sit 14 points back of the first-place Gunners and only one game left in hand. The boss Erik ten Hag was furious after the match, slamming his team for “losing their heads” and falling short of expectations across the board.
MORE: Highlights & commentary from Anfield as United pummeled 7-0 by rivals Liverpool
Liverpool’s biggest win vs Man United
The result on Sunday was the largest Liverpool win over Manchester United in history, besting the previous record from over a century ago.
In 1895, Liverpool welcomed Newton Heath, who would later become Manchester United, to Anfield for the first-ever meeting between these two sides at the famous ground. The 7-1 result would hold across the matchup’s history as the largest Liverpool win over their rivals until this very result.
😤 Liverpool record their largest-ever win over Manchester United. pic.twitter.com/ZeN4WSE0su
— Sporting News Football Club (@sn_footballclub) March 5, 2023
Even just in the last few years, Liverpool have dominated Manchester United no matter where the two sit in the Premier League table at the time of their matchup. Liverpool have recorded at least four goals in three of their last four league meetings, including two victories by a combined 11-0 at Anfield.
The Red Devils haven’t won at Anfield since 2016, an ever-increasing run of poor results at their rivals’ famous ground.
😳 The aggregate scoreline over the past two seasons in the #PremierLeague between Liverpool and Manchester United:
Liverpool 7-0 Man United
Man United 2-1 Liverpool
Liverpool 4-0 Man United
Man United 0-5 Liverpool
Liverpool 17-2 Man United. pic.twitter.com/qlkO09GUPR
— Sporting News Football Club (@sn_footballclub) March 5, 2023
How Man United saw worst ever defeat to Liverpool
While the focus is on the storied history between these two clubs, there’s an even more tragic benchmark reached by Manchester United by this result. The seven-goal loss equalled Man United’s record margin of defeat to any opponent in the club’s storied history, a feat of futility that’s only been done three previous times, all coming over 90 years ago — against Blackburn in 1926, against Aston Villa in 1930, and against Wolves in 1931.
So how did this come to pass? It was a perfect storm of glittering Liverpool performances coupled with a host of Red Devil disappearing acts.
From a Manchester United perspective, it starts with David de Gea in goal. While de Gea’s distribution issues have been prevalent for months, if not years, his shot-stopping ability has always been his calling card. However today, even that escaped him. De Gea faced eight shots on target, and made just a single save, conceding seven goals on just 2.65 xG (expected goals) and 3.61 xGOT (expected goals on target), a putrid performance.
Manchester United defenders were also extremely poor. Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez both came away with embarrassing moments, as Varane was turned in a circle on Cody Gakpo’s first-half opener, and his Argentine centre-back got spun like a top by Mohamed Salah on the Egyptian’s second in the 66th minute.
Up front, Antony and Bruno Fernandes were wasteful in the attack, as the two combined for 43 lost possession in 82 total touches. That meant talisman Marcus Rashford ended up with only 25 total touches as United failed to get their most in-form player involved in the action before Erik ten Hag hauled him off with five minutes remaining and the game completely gone.
Sixteenth time #mufc have conceded seven in a game in their history and only their fourth ever 7-0 defeat. They’ve scored one goal in the last eight games at Anfield and that was in a manager’s final game.
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) March 5, 2023
MORE: Man United quadruple chase in tatters as Premier League title drifts further out of reach
Erik ten Hag reacts to Man United’s 7-0 defeat
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag slammed his side for their capitulation in the match. The Red Devils were only down 1-0 at halftime and had threatened in moments through the opening 45 minutes of action, but failed to produce any kind of competitive action after the break.
“You can lose a game, I just in the dressing room, but not in the way we lost the second half,” ten Hag said to beIN Sports after the match. “The second half was unprofessional, it can’t happen, and we have to talk about it.”
“It was not about one or two players, it was the whole team. I saw 11 individuals losing their heads, not stick to the plan, and just let it come, and that is unprofessional. That is not Manchester United, we have other standards we want to show.”
“The second half is… unprofessional that is not Manchester United” ❌
Erik ten Hag was unforgiving in his assessment of his side today!
🎤 @AndyKerrtv #beINPL #LIVMUN 🔴👹 pic.twitter.com/HE9rfDh63R
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) March 5, 2023
The Dutchman denied that any fatigue had anything to do with today’s performance, as they fight on multiple fronts.
“No,” Ten Hag said flatly when asked if fatigue is setting in. “We can bring the performances [from] four days ago, seven days ago, so it has nothing to do with that. It’s just about the head. We know Liverpool is a good transition team, so when you are 1-0 down, you can’t lose your head, because you bring them into transition moments.”
Ten Hag wasn’t done there. “I’m really disappointed and angry,” he continued while speaking to Sky Sports. “We let our fans down. As a squad, as a team, you cannot allow this. You have to stick together and support each other and fight for each other. You have to defend. We didn’t do that and for me that is really unprofessional.”
Mo Salah breaks Liverpool record as Klopp heaps praise
Mohamed Salah bagged a brace to lead Liverpool up front in the record-setting win, but one of the goals in particular made its mark on Liverpool history on an individual level.
His second, and Liverpool’s sixth, took the Egyptian to 129 career goals for Liverpool in Premier League action, passing Robbie Fowler’s previous mark of 128. He still has a ways to go to catch Roger Hunt’s mark of 244 league goals all-time, but in the Premier League era, nobody at Liverpool stands above Salah in front of net.
“It is absolutely insane,” Klopp said to Sky Sports after the match. “129 goals. Absolutely insane. I don’t know how many goals he was involved in setting up [as well]. We really appreciate him now and we will look back and really appreciate him, he is special.”
Salah himself acknowledged his accomplishment after the match, telling Sky Sports after the match that Liverpool’s all-time goal scoring record has been “in my mind since I came here.”
“I’m really happy for Mo [Salah],” said Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson. “He dedicates his life to football. He is the first one in and the last one out.”
👑 Mo Salah. Liverpool legend. #LIVMUN | #LFC pic.twitter.com/oiIOU4hcOd
— The Sportsman (@TheSportsman) March 5, 2023
Klopp was overjoyed by the result, as you can imagine from the Liverpool boss after the resounding win.
“No words,” Klopp said to Sky Sports after the match. “Spectacular football game, eh? Outstanding. Start of the game was exactly what we needed, it was super lively, super active. First half got a bit wild in a way we didn’t want it, but we got a foot into the game and then scored an incredible goal.”
“Second half, obviously the start was pretty good, the finish was pretty good, everything was pretty good.”