Absolutely atrocious from Manchester United! Winners & losers as Liverpool run riot amid disgraceful Red Devils display

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Sunday's 7-0 mauling of Erik ten Hag's side threatens to derail their season as much as it has reignited Jurgen Klopp's hopes of a top-four finish

Aren't Liverpool meant to be in crisis? We thought Manchester United were meant to be back? If anyone decided that Sunday's match at Anfield would be the first they watched this season, they would have refused to have believed either of those narratives.

Jurgen Klopp's side have shown signs of reviving their campaign in recent weeks, but they took things to a different level here as Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah all scored twice before Roberto Firmino rounded out the scoring to seal a record-breaking 7-0 win.

For United, though, this was a damaging reality check just a week on from their triumphant Carabao Cup final victory.

It was the Red Devils' heaviest Premier League defeat, and it could have been even worse as Erik ten Hag's side capitulated in the second half after going in just 1-0 down at the break.

Any slim hopes they had of clawing their way back into the title race are now likely gone, and they must dust themselves off quickly to ensure their season is not derailed.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from an extraordinary day at Anfield...

  1. WINNER: Cody Gakpo

    WINNER: Cody Gakpo

    Had things worked out differently, Cody Gakpo might have been wearing the white of United here. How glad Liverpool are that he was not.

    The Dutchman was electric, elusive and decisive as his new employers got their best return yet on their £37 million ($46m) January investment.

    What a contribution he made, opening the scoring in style just before half-time with a great finish from a superb Andy Robertson pass, before adding a sublime third for his side with a delicious scooped effort from Mohamed Salah’s assist.

    Two months into his Liverpool career, Gakpo has got a goal against Everton and a brace against Manchester United under his belt. Money well spent, it seems.

  2. LOSER: Luke Shaw
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    LOSER: Luke Shaw

    Sitting back and reflecting on the game, it’s easy to forget that Shaw put in a decent performance in the first half here.

    In the second half, though, he was atrocious, with his poor pass that led to Liverpool's second goal a sign of things to come in hindsight.

    The England defender also threatened to lose his temper as his frustration grew, and could have been sent off for clashing with Darwin Nunez.

    For one of United's best performers of the season, this was massively out of character.

  3. WINNER: Mohamed Salah

    WINNER: Mohamed Salah

    When he plays like this, who can live with the Reds’ Egyptian King?

    We keep hearing that Salah is having a quiet season, but he now has 22 goals in all competitions, and this was a performance of quite stunning quality from the 30-year-old superstar.

    Dangerous from the off, Salah, like Liverpool, exploded into life after half time, cutting a bewildered United defence apart like an adult dropped into an Under-9s game and told to rattle some cages.

    His assist for Gakpo’s second (Liverpool’s third) was sublime, and he was there himself to make it four, lamping a shot home via the underside of the bar with his right foot.

    That goal moved him level with Robbie Fowler as the Reds’ all-time leading Premier League goalscorer, and 17 minutes later, he’d moved past him, reacting quickest in the six-yard box to make it 6-0.

    There was still time for another assist, a pass rolled beautifully into Roberto Firmino’s feet, with the smiling Brazilian doing the rest.

    Seventh heaven for Liverpool, but just another day at the office for their incredible No.11.

  4. LOSER: Antony
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    LOSER: Antony

    The Brazilian flashed an early shot to Alisson’s far post which required a good save from his compatriot, but that was about as good as it got for Antony.

    He kept slowing down United’s play and could have released Marcus Rashford on a couple of occasions, but took too long to release the ball.

    His crossing was sloppy and he tried his usual trick of cutting on to his left foot with little effect.

    Still has a lot to prove, especially given his £85-million price tag.

  5. WINNER: Darwin Nunez
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    WINNER: Darwin Nunez

    Had you watched the first 45 minutes here and been asked to give an appraisal of Darwin Nunez’s performance, the word ‘rusty’ would surely have featured.

    The Uruguayan was all arms and legs, and looked strangely lethargic in what was, for a time at least, a tight and well-contested game.

    But whatever was in his half-time mate must have worked, because in the second half the Reds striker was unrecognisable, and unplayable from a United point of view.

    His two goals, both of them scored with his head, take him to 14 for the season. Anfield loves him, responding to his energy, his work-ethic and his skillset. He seems to love it here too, feeding off the crowd’s energy and support.

    It has not been the easiest start to his Reds career, but Nunez is showing exactly why Klopp was so keen to bring him to Merseyside. He looks born to the manor now, a player around whom a glorious future can be built.

    One thing’s for sure; those writing him off as a ‘sh*t Andy Carroll’ need to find another song!

  6. LOSER: Bruno Fernandes
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    LOSER: Bruno Fernandes

    Both Gary Neville and Roy Keane labelled his second-half performance and behaviour as "disgraceful", and it's hard to disagree given Fernandes was meant to be United's captain on the day.

    The Portugal international was very poor on the ball and kept on complaining to the officials and sulking at his own team-mates.

    He also missed a good chance to open the scoring in the first half, but it was the way he allowed his team to fall apart after the break is what was so concerning.

  7. WINNER: Jurgen Klopp
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    WINNER: Jurgen Klopp

    There were to be no fistpumps at the end, despite the protestations of the Kop. But try and get the smile from Klopp’s face tonight, or even tomorrow.

    This was the day he must have dreamed of when he woke up. Seven goals, Champions League hope rekindled, a biggest win ever over Manchester United, and a performance of such poise and tenacity, such verve and ruthlessness, that one wonders where the hell this Liverpool have been hiding in recent months.

    Klopp picked the right team here, trusting Harvey Elliott and recalling Gakpo and Robertson. All three rewarded him, as did his favourite, Roberto Firmino, who emerged off the bench to ice the cake. That was the ending Klopp would have picked, one suspects.

    You don’t get many perfect days in football, but this was one, for the Liverpool boss.

  8. LOSER: United's quadruple hopes
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    LOSER: United's quadruple hopes

    The idea that United could catch Arsenal in the Premier League was always wishful thinking, but this nightmare has surely put paid to any question that they could win four trophies in 2022-23.

    A hammering of this magnitude even has the capacity to derail the team’s efforts in the Europa League and FA Cup, though the good news is that they responded well to the 6-3 hammering they were handed by Manchester City in October.

    Ten Hag will need to lift his team again to show that they continue to be made of sterner stuff.