Manchester United put in an abject display and were absolutely hammered at home to Liverpool.
Here is a look at six things we learned from a humiliating result…
United make an awful start
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke before the game about United making a fast start and stamping their authority on the game. The exact opposite happened.
United were timid in the opening stages and allowed Liverpool to carve through them at will.
Naby Keita made it 1-0 within four minutes and United were shellshocked. It was far too easy for Liverpool and set the tone for the entire game.
Pressing under the microscope again
In the buildup to Liverpool’s first goal, Bruno Fernandes decided to go charging out of midfield to press Alisson.
From there, Mason Greenwood and Aaron Wan-Bissaka came up behind to cover; but too slowly and without intent. It dragged the whole team out of position and Naby Keita scored seconds later.
Liverpool ripped United apart whenever they tried to press. United’s pressing has been under the microscope in recent weeks and it was another awful effort here. There was no cohesion or sharpness to it.
United wasteful in front of goal
United’s attacking play was decent at times in the first half. Even before Keita scored, Fernandes had a great chance to find the net.
He lashed it over the bar, and later in the half, Cristiano Ronaldo produced an uncharacteristically hurried finish when he had the opportunity to cut the deficit.
Ronaldo also lost his head near the end of the first 45 minutes, where United showed nowhere near enough composure in key attacking moments.
United unable to recover this time
United were of course 2-0 down in midweek and came back to win. There were plenty of recoveries during football behind closed doors too.
But there was no coming back here. It was 4-0 at half-time, which saw United booed off the pitch with some fans leaving early.
Many fans feared that a heavy result was on its way as United embarked on their tough run of fixtures and it came against the worst possible opponent.
United totally lose discipline
Paul Pogba was sent off within 15 minutes of his introduction for a studs up challenge on Keita.
Before that, Harry Maguire was lucky to escape a red card for a professional foul on Diogo Jota when he was through on goal. He was only booked.
Ronaldo, Fernandes, Fred, Luke Shaw and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were also booked as United lost their heads.
United responded to adversity by diving into challenges and hacking Liverpool down. It was immature and poor to see.
‘As bad as it gets’
That was Gary Neville’s verdict after Pogba’s red card.
This game brought back memories of 6-1 home defeats to Manchester City and Tottenham.
It is difficult to think of a way the afternoon could have got any worse for United.
Serious questions will be asked of Solskjer and his players after this and rightly so. United are in crisis and any title hopes are over just nine games into the season.
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