Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now in Moyes, Van Gaal and Mourinho territory as he edges closer to the sack… Manchester United are a broken club and the threat to the manager’s future is real
- Liverpool run riot to obliterate Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford
- Mo Salah becomes first player to score Premier League hat-trick at Old Trafford
- Paul Pogba shown straight red just 15 minutes after coming on at halftime
- United have kept one clean sheet in their last 21 games in all competitions
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits his team are at ‘rock bottom’ following defeat
For Jurgen Klopp there was a downside to what appeared to be a perfect day out in the Manchester rain.
The Liverpool manager lost two midfield players to injury and it is highly possible that Manchester United may soon lose their manager.
The departures of James Milner and Naby Keita – the latter on a stretcher after Paul Pogba’s red card lunge – were no joke at Old Trafford.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was crestfallen as United shipped five goals against Liverpool on Sunday
But among Liverpool followers, the future of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has long been one.
Generally the consensus at the western end of the East Lancs Road is that, while United’s continuing wrestle with irrelevance is enduringly and hilariously welcome, nobody wants them to be quite this bad.
With Solskjaer at the wheel, United will surely never win the Premier League. If he does eventually fall through the ice that continues to weaken beneath his feet then United may just start to look like a football team again.
For now Solskjaer stumbles blindly on but if the trend set during recent games against Everton, Leicester, Atalanta and now Liverpool continues then surely the Norwegian will not be allowed to do so much longer.
The Norwegian admitted his team were at ‘rock bottom’ after a dismal capitulation
The Norwegian and his players were booed off at halftime following a shambolic 45 minutes
This was a surrender by Solskjaer’s team against a great rival that continues to set exemplary standards. Played out on the ten-year anniversary of their 6-1 defeat here against Manchester City, it felt worse even than that.
That was a remarkable day in itself but it’s worth noting that City only led 3-1 in the 90th minute. Roberto Mancini’s team scored three in injury time and eventually won their first Premier League title by goal difference from United on the season’s final day.
Here, this game was all but done in the 38th minute when Mo Salah scored Liverpool’s third goal. There was to be no great comeback and as such United’s interest in the title, such as it was, is already extinguished.
United are seventh in the standings this morning, a point ahead of Wolves and two above Brentford. Worryingly for Solskjaer, he is now in Moyes/Van Gaal/Mourinho territory.
Mo Salah became the first player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League at Old Trafford
The Egyptian scored three times in 12 minutes either side of half time as Liverpool ran riot
The three managers that passed here before him had their teams in seventh, fifth and sixth when they were sacked and the obvious pattern is not co-incidental.
The United owners the Glazer family claim to crave sporting success but what terrifies them more than anything is exclusion from the Champions League.
When shortcomings on the field point the way towards financial shortfalls, their take on the security of their manager begins to shift a little.
So the threat to Solskjaer is now real. By rights, he should go. He has been in charge of this United team for almost three years and is now overseeing a drift that threatens to become catastrophic.
United were completely humiliated and never looked like laying a glove on Liverpool
Jose Mourinho’s final game in charge against Manchester United was against Liverpool
Mourinho’s last game as United manager was against Liverpool too, on December 16 2018. That day at Anfield, United were disorganised, vulnerable and without spirit. They reeked of an inferiority complex.
Yesterday, all of that and more was in evidence once again. United – packed with attacking talent and with more sitting on the substitutes’ bench – were in the game for about quarter of an hour.
They carried a latent threat whenever they managed to find a way between Liverpool’s defensive screen and their back four.
But when the magic didn’t arrive from the feet of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes or Mason Greenwood, United were left to try and control the pale shirts swarming towards them at the other end with all the security and confidence of school children trying to hold on to sand.
Bruno Fernandes missed a glorious chance to give United an early lead in the first half
Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo failed to provide some offensive spark for United
At United, this is no longer a matter of personnel. Sure, they need a holding player and their best central defender is injured.
But the porous manner in which this United team presents itself when opponents have the ball in the middle third is alarming and is fundamentally indicative of a desperate coaching problem.
It was the same at Leicester eight days earlier. At the King Power, Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic were the holding pair. The former is not mentally suited to the role and the latter no longer has the athleticism. United shipped four goals.
Fans streamed out of Old Trafford with United 4-0 down against Liverpool at halftime
This time the job was handed to the Brazilian Fred and Scott McTominay but it made little difference.
With United’s front four offering only token assistance, Liverpool’s energy, intelligence and speed of thought saw them play forwards in to dangerous areas with almost no resistance.
As a coach, it’s the kind of thing that you see happening and fix it. Solskjaer does not seem capable, neither between games or during them. One wonders what happens at Carrington on a daily basis. Shooting practice perhaps?
Sir Alex Ferguson cut a disconsolate figure in the stands as United were humbled on Sunday
Up in the stands and indeed the directors’ box, the story of this seismic afternoon was being equally colourfully told.
‘Ole Must Stay’ they sang in the away section while in the posh seats Kenny Dalglish looked as though he had just made birdie down 18 at Royal Birkdale.
As for Sir Alex Ferguson? His favourite club is broken. Again.
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