Manchester United 0-5 Liverpool: Salah hat-trick ruins soulless United
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Mohamed Salah notched a hat-trick to add to Naby Keïta and Diogo Jota’s early strikes as Jürgen Klopp’s side secured a stunning victory at the home of Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team.

A sensational opening half saw the visitors 4-0 ahead at the break before substitute Paul Pogba was handed a straight red card early in the second half for a poor challenge on Keïta.

He left the field on a stretcher after James Milner had himself been forced off through injury in the opening 45. With Fabinho also absent today – making the win all the more impressive – those midfield knocks represent a point of concern.

This was a day of immense brilliance from the Merseysiders, though. They were professional, incisive and genuinely ruthless throughout to earn a famous success.

 

Story of the match

An intense start actually saw an unchanged United create the first chance.

In the fourth minute, the hosts sharply worked the ball across the box to Bruno Fernandes in space but, from 15 yards, the Portuguese rifled his right-footed attempt over.

Come the fifth, the Reds took the lead.

A clever bit of interplay down the left saw Roberto Firmino cleverly release Salah. With Keïta to his right, the Egyptian played a perfectly timed and weighted pass that the Guinean strode onto and coolly sidefooted past David de Gea.

It was a brilliant start but the desire to build on it was palpable.

Just two minutes later, Firmino burst into the box and forced a good save out of De Gea with a left-footed shot as the Merseysiders continued to strike up an authoritative rhythm in and out of possession.

It wasn’t as if United weren’t looking a threat. Marcus Rashford whistled a 30-yarder just wide in the 10th minute but Klopp’s side were still very much at it and it was soon 2-0.

Another incisive move down the left was followed by hesitancy between Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw that the ever-active Keïta capitalised on.

He slid the ball into the path of Trent Alexander-Arnold down the right and the 23-year-old’s low cross, which was typically pinpoint, was converted on the slide by Jota at the far post.

Another incisive attack efficiently finished. There was plenty more where that came from, of course. Still, though, Solskjær’s men posed a threat – albeit primarily from distance.

Cristiano Ronaldo whipped a 20-yard attempt over in the 19th minute, Shaw whistled one just wide from a little further three minutes later and Mason Greenwood's arrowed effort was palmed around the post by Alisson Becker on 29 minutes.

By now, Curtis Jones was on for Milner – who suffered an apparent muscle issue – but, still, the visitors kept coming.

Salah latched onto a loose Shaw pass and was denied by De Gea in the 32nd minute. He took his next chance, though.

Six minutes later, another excellent move saw the ball worked to Keïta on the right side of the box and his low cross was swept into the roof of the net by the No.11 to make it 10 games in a row that he has scored in.

And after Alisson did well to deny Ronaldo early in first-half stoppage time, Salah added his second and his team’s fourth.

Again, they worked it across the box and this time it was Jota who teed-up the 29-year-old. His first-time left-footed finish found the bottom-right corner with typical accuracy from 15 yards.

His hat-trick goal came courtesy of a sublime Jordan Henderson through ball four minutes into the second half. Salah did it justice as he raced towards De Gea and prodded home.

Ronaldo had a ruthlessly taken goal overturned by VAR in the 53rd minute before Pogba’s dismissal followed in the 60th.

He’d originally been shown a yellow card for the challenge that saw Keïta leave the field on a stretcher but Anthony Taylor’s check of the pitchside VAR monitor led him to change it to red.

There’ll be concern over the condition of Keïta, first and foremost. It will be hoped that neither he nor Milner are out for too long, with fellow midfielders Thiago Alcântara and Harvey Elliott still on the treatment table at present.

From there, the visitors saw it out relatively quietly, with Alexander-Arnold and Edinson Cavani coming close for the respective sides.

 

Conclusion

A breathtakingly brilliant day for Liverpool, who ruthlessly capitalised on an ill-disciplined Manchester United to return to second in the table.

10 goalscoring games in a row now for the brilliant Salah, who is now on 15 goals in all competitions this season.

On an immensely positive day, the pair of midfield injuries will clearly be a point of concern for Klopp but both Milner and Keïta played a highly positive part here.

A day and result that will likely stand alone, but one the Reds will doubtless be determined to build on to make 2021/22 a massively successful one.

 

Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah

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As difficult as it is to pick out one individual, Salah’s treble was reflective of him again being at the centre of so much of his side’s good work.

Relentless in and out of possession, he played a notable role in the two goals he didn’t score.

That his already top-level performance levels for the Merseysiders have gone up again this season speaks volumes for his current form.

An increasingly immense footballing presence.

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