Liverpool got braces from Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, and Darwin Nunez as the Reds collected all the good vibes in a 7-0 smashing of old rivals Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday.
Roberto Firmino scored in the 88th minute of this seven-star show that moves Jurgen Klopp’s Reds within three points of fourth-place Tottenham Hotspur with a match-in-hand.
[ MORE: Liverpool vs Manchester United player ratings ]
Manchester United were flying under Erik ten Hag right now after winning the League Cup, beating Barcelona to reach the last 16 of the Europa League, and outlasting West Ham to reach the FA Cup quarterfinals.
The 7-0 score line is the worst Premier League defeat in Manchester United history.
[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]
What a difference a game makes… but what difference can 7-0 make?
Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United has been resilient, solid, and exceptional over the last month, beating Barcelona, Newcastle United, and West Ham in elimination games and cueing up talk that the Red Devils may, finally, be back.
Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United was neither resilient, solid, nor exceptional in any positive way on Sunday, obliterated by a woe-begone Liverpool side who gladly pounced on mistakes to rebuild its top-four hopes at Anfield.
Now the Dutch boss has to react in the right manner, because even the star men he hailed for their mentality after winning the League Cup — Raphael Varane, Casemiro, David De Gea — looked disinterested by the time the game hit 3-0. It wasn’t even close, and perhaps Ten Hag’s obvious decision to call it a day with his 58th minute subs of Scott McTominay and Alejandro Garnacho for Wout Weghorst and Fred just wheezed its way through the squad.
WATCH LIVERPOOL v MANCHESTER UNITED FULL MATCH REPLAY STREAM – LINK
So what can it mean for Liverpool? Honestly, everything.
The Reds rifled home goals Sunday with a frequency we’ve only seen them reserve for excuses this season, and it was fitting that Mohamed Salah — who’s had a very good, under-the-radar season — was able to put together a “look-at-me” day because his fellow finishers showed up.
And don’t be surprised if Roberto Firmino, who came off the bench to join the scoring, enjoys a fitting end to his Liverpool career over the final few months of the season.
Moreover, if Liverpool’s going to pounce on mistakes this way, maybe it’s not crazy to imagine the Reds reversing that 5-2 deficit to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
Jurgen Klopp reaction
“No works, spectacular football game. Start of the game was exactly what we needed; Super fun, super lively, super active. We played top football against a team in-form.”
“Second half, everything was pretty good. That’s football. That can happen. United has played a super season. I’m not really happy with ours but that doesn’t mean anything at the moment. It’s a very important three points for us.”
Erik ten Hag reaction
“We played decent first half, one mistake in organization but it wouldn’t have been weird if we were in the lead by halftime.
“Second half. It was not professional? [Is he angry?] Yes definitely. I’m surprised because I’ve seen the last week months, and what was that of mine? Second half we didn’t have a winning attitude at all?”
“We didn’t stick to the plan. We lost our heads and we didn’t do our jobs. We know how good they are in transition and we just aren’t running with our opponents. It’s unprofessional.”
“We’ve seen in the past we can bounce back, after the Brentford, after the City game. We let the fans down. I’m angry. This is a reality check. We have to take this strong message. We have to take our lessons out.”
Liverpool vs Manchester United player ratings
(See Joe Prince-Wright’s full player ratings, here)
Manchester United’s home to Real Betis in a Europa League Round of 16 first leg on Thursday, then hosting Southampton on Sunday in the Premier League.
Liverpool gets a rare week off before meeting… checks notes… Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium at 7:30am ET Saturday.
Cody Gakpo goal video: Robertson cues up Dutch finish
Darwin Nunez goal video: Shaw mistake sets up Reds’ second
Cody Gakpo goal video: Salah cooks Martinez, cues up Gakpo brace
Mohamed Salah goal video: Salah feasts on McTominay error
Darwin Nunez goal video: Uruguayan heads Henderson chip
Mohamed Salah goal video: Egyptian buries loose ball
Roberto Firmino goal video: Brazilian gets on the board
How to watch Liverpool vs Manchester United live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 11:30am ET, Sunday
TV Channel: USA Network
Analysis: Live Watchalong on NBC Sports’ YouTube channel (send your questions in below!)
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Liverpool vs Manchester United head-to-head record
Liverpool have won 80 games in all competitions in this rivalry, while Manchester United have 90 wins against Liverpool and there have been 68 draws.
Key storylines & in-form players to watch
Look, this has been a pretty woeful season from Liverpool after they came so close to winning the unprecedented quadruple last season. Still, they are now back in the top four conversation and their forwards are firing with Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez all grabbing goals at different moments. Defensively they look better since Virgil van Dijk returned (the Real debacle aside) and Klopp’s side have the advantage of being in this position before and hunting down a top four spot. They came unstuck against Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this season but there’s something about this rivalry game at Anfield which brings out the best in the Reds.
As for United, they have so many attackers playing at the top of their game but red-hot Marcus Rashford and the mercurial Bruno Fernandes have been unstoppable in recent weeks. So has Casemiro in midfield, while his experience in front of Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and David de Gea looks like a wonderful defensive unit. Over the years United have picked up big wins at Anfield but they have struggled in recent seasons. Their fans will be desperate to keep this good run going and keep the pressure on Arsenal and Manchester City in their unlikely title bid.
Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Luis Diaz (knee), Thiago Alcantara (hip), Calvin Ramsay (knee), Joe Gomez (undisclosed), Naby Keita (knock), Arthur Melo (thigh)
🔴 #LIVMUN TEAM NEWS 🔴
Our line-up to take on Manchester United today 👊
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 5, 2023
Manchester United team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Christian Eriksen (ankle), Anthony Martial (hip), Donny van de Beek (knee), Mason Greenwood (suspension – MORE)
📣 BRING ON UNITED! 📣#MUFC || #LIVMUN
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) March 5, 2023