It was arguably the most embarrassing performance in Manchester United’s Premier League history on Sunday, as Liverpool came to Old Trafford and thumped them 5-0.
A hat-trick from Mo Salah and goals from Naby Keita and Diogo Jota put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side to the sword, as Jurgen Klopp’s men rushed to a 4-0 lead at half-time.
Salah added a fifth just after the break to round-up his monumental day, before substitute Paul Pogba was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Keita.
It was a straight up humiliation from United’s fiercest rivals as they came to town and cut through the Reds defence like a hot knife through butter.
United adopted that strange high-but-not-so-high press with a low block midfield and defence, meaning there was about 40 yards of space for the Liverpool defence to play into the halfway line and then be right at the team.
It was the exact same approach that has seen United win just three of their last nine games, getting cut open constantly because there is no shape or structure to the team.
Paul Scholes warned the team following the midweek 3-2 comeback win against Atalanta.
“Do that against Liverpool and see what happens. The game will be gone.”
He was absolutely spot on. The game was over inside half an hour and United were completely helpless to stop anything.
It’s as clear as day now that Solskjaer has hit his ceiling with the job. He did a great job in rebuilding the squad, bringing in top talent, getting rid of deadwood and improving the morale of the squad after a torrid few years.
But now, when it comes to making the step up to becoming contenders and competing with Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Thomas Tuchel and the like, he isn’t and never will be up for it.
Any top side would react to a run of three wins in nine games, especially with the manner of the performances and a thumping to your most fierce rivals at home with a change.
Manchester United like to push the narrative that they’re still a top club, so they need to act.
If they don’t, it summarises where they are as a club. Mediocrity is a term thrown around quite a lot in football, but with one title in the last decade and no trophy for almost five years now United are entering that territory.
Not sacking Solskjaer now sends a message out that the current form and performances are acceptable, which would just confirm to all that the club aren’t interested in success on the pitch anymore.
The squad is strong enough that there is still time to save this season if action is taken quickly, but contrary to what Solskjaer said yesterday it can still get worse.
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