Liverpool did not need to get anywhere near their maximum performance but their 5-0 loss to Manchester United marked a significant day in the Premier League title race, according to Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville.
United were completely humiliated and Liverpool did what they were asked to do, picking their opponents accurately to ensure the biggest win against their arch-rivals at Old Trafford.
Mohamed Salah’s treble was the first goal by a Reds player on the field since Fred Howe’s 5-2 victory in November 1936, the club’s previous record win.
Excited visiting fans sang to celebrate the performance and ridiculed United, and Jurgen Klopp couldn’t stop delivering his trademark triple fist-pump on the final whistle and was initially seen to think twice about taking action in the opposition.
Carra: Special team with a special manager
Liverpool are already seven points ahead of United after nine games and when asked if he could believe what he saw at Old Trafford, Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports: “No I can’t. I’m not trying to be smart here but I’m not. I don’t think so. Liverpool were their absolute best in terms of actual possession.
“Of course throughout that first half, they lost the ball and gave Manchester United a chance but every time they passed and got into the back four of United … it’s a joke on the back four, the way it’s playing.
“It was a mess, a keystone cops kind of defending. But you can’t quite believe what you’ve seen.
“There was a slight frustration that it was half an hour to go against 10 men so you would never get that chance again. [to score more].
“Manchester United and Liverpool are probably the biggest rivals in world football, two huge clubs in the north-west of England and I have a lot of respect for what both clubs have achieved, but you don’t often get that opportunity.
“It’s a special Liverpool team with a special manager. The top three teams in the Premier League, along with Bayern Munich, are the four best teams in Europe. We’ve got real value in the Premier League.”
Neve: There was pressure on Liverpool … it’s a big result
In pointing out the shortcomings of Manchester United, it would be wrong to forget how well Liverpool played because they showed themselves to be different from their rivals in this great match.
Gary told Neville Sports: “What this result does is that the top three teams in the league are within a few points of each other – Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool. They are outstanding teams.
“Chelsea and City’s win on Saturday put pressure on them today [against Norwich and Brighton respectively] But it’s a big, big result. “
Liverpool are the second team in the history of English top-flight after Manchester United to win by five or more goals in a row without conceding.
In fact, Jurgen Klopp’s side have scored 19 goals in their first five away matches in the Premier League this season.
Only two teams have scored more goals after five away games in English top-flight history – Manchester City 2011/12 (20) and 1907/08 (20) Manchester United.
Graeme Sones told Sky Sports: “They (Liverpool) were clinical, they were great sometimes. I think it’s one of them, if you’re a Liverpool supporter – ‘I was there that day’. I’ve said it before … it’s for Liverpool. It wasn’t easy to get here, but it certainly was today.
“I think they started really well, got themselves a few goals and then there was a time when United felt they were coming back into the game without working on Allison.
“Liverpool were very clinical and they looked like the right team. They looked like a team that had another gear when United scratched around to find a way to play.
“It’s a sad, sad day for United, but a fair game for their supporters, because the vast majority stood in the end and supported their team.”
Is this the best result of the club’s career?
Jurgen Klopp was happy with his team’s finish although the win was due to injuries to Nebi Keita and James Milner.
Klopp knew the 10-man was one for the history book in their 5-0 loss against Manchester United but had not yet had a chance to assess the enormity of the result.
Although the Red Boss was unable to give a valid assessment of the ranking of results in his career, he said his side was “extraordinary”.
The Liverpool manager said: “I haven’t thought about it yet. It’s a good day, a really good day. I have no idea (if it’s the biggest). It’s a big deal,” the Liverpool manager said.
“I’ve been told this has never happened before in the history of the LFC. The team has always wanted to write their own chapter, so tonight was a short chapter.
“People will talk about it in the future, 100 percent because it doesn’t happen often.
“We watched the game and in two or three situations in the first half we were lucky when United could have scored – they should have scored the first goal (which fell to Bruno Fernandez) but that doesn’t diminish our performance.
“In front of the goal, in the last third, we were exceptional. Clinical and ruthless, the high press was outstanding, the formation top, all these things you want to see as a coach.
“The difference is you don’t usually score in every situation and we did.”
Salah underlines the credentials as the best in the world
Liverpool are one point away from the top in second place after a win where Salah again – and perhaps still with a clear indication – has shown that he is only in magical form at the moment.
The Egyptian forward teded up the opener for Nabi Keita before scoring a hat-trick to score 15 goals in 12 games in all competitions this season. It’s hard to argue that he’s the best player in the world right now.
Salah became the first player to score a hat-trick at Old Trafford when Cristiano Ronaldo did so for Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League in April 2003, where he surpassed Didier Drogba as the highest-scoring African player in competition history. 107 goals.
He told Sky Sports: “I think we won 5-0 here. We knew before the game that it would be tough if we didn’t play our football. We were able to do it from the start which made the game a little easier.
“We knew they would come and try to give everything to win the game so we had to be 100 per cent in our head, we had to dominate the game and think we did it.
Asked about his personal goal-scoring form, Salah said: “I’m happier as long as the team wins. I always try to give assists. The first one I could go alone but gave to Nabi, so I think I’m always trying to win for the team. Giving my best is the most important thing. “
Neville says: “He’s at his peak. He’s a player who can scratch any game right now.”
Caragher added: “If he goes close to the same number of goals he scored in his first season at the club, Liverpool will come very close to winning two big trophies. [Premier League and Champions League] They will be desperate to get their hands on it. He’s an absolute superstar. “