Salah the hat-trick hero as Liverpool humiliate abysmal Man Utd
Jurgen Klopp’s men ran riot at Old Trafford, thrashing their fierce rivals 5-0 to pile the pressure on Solskjaer
Early goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota, followed by a stunning hat-trick from the marvellously in-form Mohamed Salah, saw Liverpool inflict a chastening defeat on traditional rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford. Solskjaer’s side were booed off at half-time by their own fans, many of whom were seen leaving the stadium soon after the fifth goal in the 50th minute.
After Bruno Fernandes fluffed a glorious early chance to open the scoring for the home side, Luke Shaw played Salah onside and the Egyptian played in Keita, who shot calmly past David de Gea in the 5th minute with the United defence nowhere to be seen.
The second goal was even more farcical, Harry Maguire and Shaw ending up in a tangle, with the ball falling to Keita. He passed to Trent Alexander-Arnold whose firm low cross was turned in by Jota in the 13th minute.
Salah then scored his first of the night in the 38th minute, extending his club-record scoring run to an astonishing 10 consecutive matches. More woeful defending from the home side saw him grab another goal with the last kick before the interval.
Salah picked up where he had left off after the break, running on to a glorious pass from Jordan Henderson before finishing with aplomb in the 50th minute. This last goal made Salah the highest-scoring African player in the Premier League, overtaking Didier Drogba’s tally of 106 goals. He is also the first player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Manchester United at Old Trafford and is the current top-scorer in the league with 10 goals.
As the frustration for United increased, both Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo were lucky to be only booked after nasty challenges, with Ronaldo twice kicking out at a prone Curtis Jones as he tried to get the ball. The Portuguese star’s night got even worse when he thought he had scored a consolation goal, only for VAR to rule it out for a marginal offside.
Another VAR review then saw Paul Pogba, on as a half-time substitute, shown a straight red for a reckless studs-up tackle on Keita at the hour mark. The Guinean international had to be taken off on a stretcher.
With their one-man advantage, Liverpool could have inflicted further punishment on Solskjaer and his players but took their collective foot off the accelerator and played it safe. United had suffered enough.
The result increased the pressure on Solskjaer and his position as manager at the club. While the Merseysiders are unbeaten so far in the league, the Norwegian’s side have garnered just one point in their last four league matches. Talks of a title challenge have died out and, while the club have publicly backed him, that trust is eroding quickly, leaving Solskjaer on a slippery slope towards the ‘Exit’ door.