The hat-trick by Mohamed Salah in Liverpool’s 5-0 triumph over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday has put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s job at risk. United trailed 4-0 at halftime and failed to score in a horribly one-sided match for the first time in Premier League history. The Red Devils have now seized a one-point lead over a possible 12-point deficit within the league.
“It’s not clean to say anything other than it’s by far the darkest day I’ve ever had in charge of those players,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “In my judgment and as a group, we were no longer proper enough.” The overall performance had deteriorated to the point that it was no longer adequate.
Naby Keita started the thrashing before Diogo Jota increased Liverpool’s advantage inside 15 minutes. Salah then took command, bringing his season total to fifteen goals in 12 games and becoming the top-scoring African player in Premier League history in the process.
To cap off a gloomy day for United, Paul Pogba was shown an instant scarlet card for a dangerous tackle that forced Keita to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher. Liverpool’s first victory in front of a home crowd at Old Trafford propelled them past Manchester City into second place, just a point behind champions Chelsea.
United, on the other hand, appears to have given up on a first-place finish since 2013, as they now trail the leaders by eight points.With Tottenham and City set to return within the next fortnight before an international spoil, that gap is likely to widen in the following weeks. Whether Solskjaer will still be in charge come November is now in serious doubt, as he has failed to put together a balanced team from a talented collection of well-known players. United had been hammered 6-1 by Tottenham at home in front of an empty Old Trafford last season, but rebounded to finish second in the Premier League.
However, considering the context of the competitiveness between the clubs, Solskjaer remarked that this setback became even more unfavorable. “You may take a look at what happened last season when we lost 6-1 to the Spurs,” he continued. “As a Manchester boy, this is a lot worse.” I’ve merely been told to remark that we should get back on track as soon as possible.” What may have been if Bruno Fernandes had not shot over a wonderful threat to open the scoring on 3 minutes would have surprised the Norwegian.
However, the defensive holes that have dogged United’s season began to show quickly. With a composed low end beyond David de Gea, Salah set up Keita to open the floodgates after just 5 minutes. United came back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Atalanta 3-2 in the Champions League on Wednesday. But, as a result, former Liverpool midfielder Paul Scholes’ warning that Liverpool might be 4-0 up in 45 minutes if they attacked into the same area came true.
In the absence of Sadio Mane, Jota justified his selection by stretching to show in Trent Alexander-attempt Arnold’s to double Liverpool’s advantage. Salah has already scored in ten consecutive games, surpassing Didier Drogba with his hundredth Premier League goal, while the Egyptian has grown to become Keita’s cut-back with the United defense at sea.
Cristiano Ronaldo was fortunate to avoid a red card as United’s emotions boiled over in the first-half of stoppage time, when he was booked for slapping Curtis Jones, a foreshadowing of what was to come as the home side lost their discipline. Salah slammed domestic his 14th goal in 12 games this season at De Gea’s near post as Liverpool inflicted similar punishment prior to the spoil. Salah completed his hat-trick with a clinical finish 5 minutes into the second half, after Jordan Henderson’s byskip split the United defensive as soon as possible.Ronaldo thought he had pulled off a goal return, only for a VAR review to catch him offside.
Another VAR review noted the end of Pogba’s brief appearance for a dreadful studs-up challenge on Keita, which pushed the Guinean off. As Old Trafford emptied in the final half-hour, Solskjaer sacrificed Fernandes and Marcus Rashford to attempt to stop the hemorrhage. With an excellent save from Alexander-drive, Arnold’s De Gea ensured Liverpool did not match their record margin of victory against United. However, that was no longer enough to calm the majority of the visiting fans, who instead chanted for Solskjaer to keep his job.
EPL 2021: Manchester United Vs Liverpool, Reaction, Gary Neville, Video, Highlights, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. (2021, October 24). Fox Sports.