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PREMIER LEAGUE FOOTBALL

Lethal Liverpool claim historic victory over Manchester United in 7-0 record win

Lethal Liverpool claim historic victory over Manchester United in 7-0 record win
Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates with his teammate Mohamed Salah (left) after scoring the 2-0 goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United in Liverpool, Britain, 5 March 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Peter Powell)

Liverpool show that reports of their demise are premature with a devastating record win over archrivals Manchester United at Anfield.

Liverpool brought Manchester United’s bandwagon to a shuddering halt as Cody Gakpo, Darwin Núñez and Mohamed Salah all scored twice in a record 7-0 hammering of their archrivals to boost their Premier League top-four hopes at Anfield on Sunday, 5 March.

A week after a resurgent United claimed their first trophy since 2017 by winning the League Cup and amid talk of a late title push, they were blown away either side of halftime as Liverpool recorded their biggest victory in the fixture.

Third-placed United had looked marginally the better side for 43 minutes but it turned into an Anfield horror show for Erik ten Hag’s side as they suffered the club’s worst defeat since a 7-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1931.

Gakpo’s superb finish from Liverpool’s first attempt on target gave the hosts the halftime lead.

Within five minutes of the restart it was over as a contest with Núñez’s header making it 2-0 after some comical defending allowed Harvey Elliott to cross and a lightning counterattack led by Salah ended with Gakpo finishing in style for 3-0.

Mohamed Salah of Liverpool scores the team’s seventh goal as Diogo Dalot of Manchester United attempts to clear the line during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United at Anfield on 5 March 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo: Michael Regan / Getty Images)


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Losing their heads

With United in disarray and losing their heads, Salah got in on the act to rifle in Liverpool’s fourth in the 66th minute and Núñez then sent another header past helpless goalkeeper David De Gea in the 75th. But there was still more to come.

Salah rubbed salt into United wounds with a close-range effort to score a record 129th Premier League goal for the Merseyside club, taking him past the mark of Robbie Fowler.

Roberto Firmino then came off the bench to send Juergen Klopp’s side into seventh heaven with an angled shot after more good work by Egyptian Salah – although, by that stage, most of United’s army of followers had headed for the exits.

It was the first time since 1999 that three players had scored two goals for the same club in the Premier League – the last time being when Andy Cole, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Dwight Yorke all scored twice for United against Nottingham Forest.

Liverpool had thrashed United 4-0 at Anfield last April but considering the reversal of fortunes for the two clubs since, with United on the rise and Liverpool off the pace, this result was a major surprise.

Liverpool player Darwin Núñez celebrates with Stefan Bajcetic (right) and Kostas Tsimikas (top) after scoring the opening goal, which is later disallowed, after a VAR review during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Anfield on 5 March 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo: Stu Forster / Getty Images)

Sobering defeat

United’s sobering defeat, described by Sky Sports pundit and their former defender Gary Neville as a “disgrace”, left them in third place on 49 points and surely out of the title race. They are 14 points off leaders Arsenal, who have played a game more.

Liverpool’s fourth win in five league matches lifted them above Newcastle United into fifth on 42 points, three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand.

“It was a fantastic day for everyone,” Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson told Sky Sports. “The performance level from every single player was top quality today which is something that we’ve been missing for a while of course.

“Today you could see the energy levels and everything was back, although, to be fair, the last few Premier League games had shown we were on the right path.”

Liverpool’s previous biggest win over United was a 7-1 victory in 1895 when both clubs were in the second tier.

There was no hint of what was to come in the opening period as United weathered some early pressure and engineered the better chances with Bruno Fernandes a whisker away from scoring with a header and Marcus Rashford then spurning a chance.

But everything changed once Gakpo was released by a superb pass from Andy Robertson down the left channel and stepped inside United midfielder Fred before dispatching a low shot inside the far post.

After that, United’s disintegration was spectacular as they suffered only their second defeat in the last 12 league games.

“In the second half, it was just not us. It was not our standards. We didn’t play as a team,” Ten Hag said.

“We didn’t stick to the plan and we didn’t do our jobs. I’m really disappointed and angry about it.” Reuters/DM

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