Football Features

“A waste of space” — Liverpool 4-0 Manchester United player ratings

By Ben Green

Published: 22:34, 19 April 2022

Liverpool have climbed to the top of the Premier League table in style after an utterly comprehensive win over rivals Manchester United.

It was one-way traffic at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp’s men ruthlessly tore apart Ralf Rangnick’s “hopeless” Red Devils, with goals from Luis Diaz, Mohamed Salah (twice) and Sadio Mane completing a famous 4-0 rout. In truth, much of the game felt like Liverpool going all Harlem Globetrotters on Man Utd and Gary Neville providing an entertaining 90-minute rant about his former club.

“Let’s be clear, this Manchester United side are a waste of space,” he said on Sky Sports commentary midway through the first half. “I’ve been watching Man United for a very long time and this is as bad as it gets, even including during the ’80s. I’ve not seen a group of players so lacking in appetite.”

On that note, here’s how the players rated at Anfield:


Alisson — 8 — The Brazilian didn’t have much to do in terms of keeping the ball out of the back of the net. Man Utd were very effective at doing that themselves. But when called upon, mainly recycling play, his distribution was second to none; the precision of a Swiss watch. He did make a wonderful double save in the second half, mind, which may have just been onside upon VAR’s intervention. So a top, top performance on both fronts!

Trent Alexander-Arnold — 8 — A typically breathless performance from Liverpool’s key playmake… right-back. The academy wonder charged forward with breakneck pace, and done well after the restart when Rangnick rolled the dice, keeping a lid on Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford when the latter drifted wide to try and make things happen.

Joel Matip — 8 — “He can just go without any fear at all and hope for the best a little bit! But he has that quality. It’s a big strength of him and obviously it’s useful because it drags other players from their position.” That was the observation of Van Dijk about Matip’s ball-playing ability after Liverpool’s 6-0 win over Leeds back in February. And it was another dribbling masterclass from Matip as he charged forward for Liverpool’s breath-taking second. Defensively, he was a bulwark as well.

Virgil van Dijk — 8 — Firm when out of possession, and slick when on the ball. A slight wobble provoked a rare cry from Klopp just after the restart who, for the first time in the match, removed his beaming smirk. But let’s not dwell on the small things. The Dutchman was imperious for most of the match, and justifiably so.

Andrew Robertson — 9 — Crunched into challenges and marauded up the touchline in expected fashion. It was Robertson’s tireless tackle in the latter stages of the match that inspired Salah’s second. That he was so high up the pitch with five minutes from time pretty much sums up the philosophy of Klopp’s high-octane approach.

Fabinho — 8 — A lighthouse in the middle of the park for Liverpool. The Brazilian was a luxurious axis whom Man Utd couldn’t contain. Amid the mad and frantic pace at which Liverpool play, Fabinho offers a perfect calmness to balance the broth. Tonight was his role in microcosm.

How the Premier League title odds look now:

  • To win the Premier League League outright: Man City 4/9 | Liverpool 13/8

Follow this link for more William Hill football betting markets. Odds correct at time of publication. You must be over 18 to gamble. For more information, visit Be Gamble Aware.

Jordan Henderson — 8 — The silent workhorse in Klopp’s midfield. Henderson executed the first key pass of the match to find Mane in room before the Senegalese sent Salah racing through on goal. Beyond that first bit of inspired play, Henderson was tidiness and tenacity personified, keeping play ticking over as Liverpool’s frontline went to work, eating up grass and putting in the hard yards in typical fashion. If Fabinho was the metronome and Thiago the creative catalyst, then Henderson was the dynamo.

Thiago Alcantara — 10 — Nigel Clough in January 1994, Steven Gerrard in March 2003, Mohamed Salah in October 2021, Thiago in April 2022. This was one of the all-time great Liverpool performances against Man Utd. A match in which Klopp’s talented tempo-setter took the mickey out of Rangnick’s rugged Red Devils. The Spaniard showcased the full breadth of his creative palette, pulling the strings, procuring the ball and almost playing a training-ground rondo alongside Fabinho and Henderson as Man Utd’s midfield turned to stone.

“That’s the best game he’s ever had at Anfield,” Jamie Carragher stated as Thiago came off 10 minutes from time.

Mohamed Salah — 10 — Vintage Salah. The Egyptian produced a masterclass back in October to claim the match ball at Old Trafford, and it was another world-class showing from Man Utd’s ultimate kryptonite. Eager to pick up from where he left off at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’, it was a dream start for him when he found himself behind Man Utd’s backline five minutes into the game, superbly picking out Diaz for the deadlock breaker. His second involvement was Puskas worthy, timing his run to perfection to collect Mane’s defence-splitting pass, before slotting cooly past a dejected De Gea. He put the gloss on the rout with his second right at the end.

Sadio Mane — 10 — It’s hard not to just give Liverpool’s entire front three maximum reward. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I simply cannot fault the utter ruthlessness in which they picked apart Man Utd, and Mane was a key part of that. An assist, and WOW what an assist (pass of the season!), a goal, and plenty of involvement in all four finishes. Sublime.

Luis Diaz — 10 — Simply sensational. Few superlatives will do justice to Diaz’s scintillating showing this evening. His near-telepathic understanding with Thiago was almost eery in the way they connected, transfixing the terraces with exhibitions of fluid and rhythmic passing patterns. In congested spaces, Diaz found room. A superbly taken goal, both in execution and in timing, while his hand in Liverpool’s second will be forever etched in Kopite folklore. An actual assist for Mane’s goal as well, one that will make the record books.

Liverpool Substitutes:

Diogo Jota (for Diaz 70′) — 7 — Came on with 20 minutes from time and wanted to get in on the action. So he did, teeing up Salah for his brace.

Naby Keita (for Thiago 80′) — 6 — Came on to see the game out. Did exactly that.

James Milner (for Fabinho 86′) — N/A — A late cameo from the veteran. A nice touch from Klopp but not too much to take away.

Where do Liverpool rank among the Champions League favourites?

  • To win the Champions League outright: Man City 6/5 | Liverpool 6/5 | Real Madrid 11/2 | Villarreal 20/1 
  • Correct finalists: Liverpool/Man City 4/7 | Liverpool/Real Madrid 5/2 | Man City/Villarreal 7/1 | Real Madrid/Villarreal 12/1

Follow this link for more William Hill football betting markets. Odds correct at time of publication. You must be over 18 to gamble. For more information, visit Be Gamble Aware.

Manchester United

David de Gea — 3 — “De Gea helpless, watching the hopeless,” Neville stated as Liverpool ripped through Man Utd. De Gea wasn’t actually called into action too much beyond the goals, just once actually as Klopp’s men managed five shots on target, but he was exposed when the Reds found their moments.

Diogo Dalot — 2 — Lost his marker on both occasions for Liverpool’s two goals in the first half. Looked completely out of his depth on his unnatural side. Certainly not ideal when coming up against Salah. A mismatch on paper proved a mismatch in reality — even when he switched back across.

Harry Maguire — 2 — All at sea for Liverpool’s first. Truly awful positioning and awful tactics. The back three simply didn’t know whether to come or go, and the fact Liverpool nabbed two in the second half as well, would suggest it wasn’t just the formation that was the problem…

Victor Lindelof — 4 — Ranks above Maguire for that pass to Rashford alone in the first half. Shame the touch didn’t match the delivery. Other than that, it was a truly woeful defensive showing from Man Utd, again!

Phil Jones — 3 — “Phil Jones, fourth start in three seasons? Good luck with that,” Roy Keane reflected before the game. Well… Lady Luck clearly eluded Man Utd during his time on the pitch as they were battered from pillar to post, and Jones could only haplessly sit by and watch as Liverpool cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Subbed at half-time.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka — 2 — Asked to slot in across numerous positions in the backline, and really, he struggled to get to grips with the game in each. Once a tackle master, an impervious wall, now Wan-Bissaka looks a shadow of the player who used to keep a lock on the very best.

How the Premier League top four odds look now:

  • To finish in the Premier League top four: Chelsea 1/100 | Tottenham 4/9 | Arsenal 15/8 | Man Utd 10/1 | West Ham 100/1

Follow this link for more William Hill football betting markets. Odds correct at time of publication. You must be over 18 to gamble. For more information, visit Be Gamble Aware.

Nemanja Matic — 3 — Neat(ish) in possession, but had the look of a man who knows he’s in the twilight years of his career. The game largely passed Matic by, which isn’t ideal when he’s suppose to be protecting the defence.

Paul Pogba — N/A — Subbed off after 10 minutes with an injury. Probably did him a favour.

Bruno Fernandes — 3 — Anonymous. His kick out at TAA in the dying embers was the first bit of aggression he showed all game. Other than that the Portuguese was largely dormant, creatively stifled and unable to influence the game in any way.

Anthony Elanga — 3 — Tried to make things happen. Can’t fault the youngster for that. A slight change in the momentum shortly after the restart but that soon faded. This wasn’t Elanga’s day. Nor was it any of the United players.

Marcus Rashford — 1 — Two gilt-edged chances to salvage something, even a modicum of hope for United. He fluffed his touch in the first half after a brilliant ball from Lindelof, and then squandered a glorious chance that looked onside in the second half, Alisson equal to his effort.

Manchester United Substitutes:

Jesse Lingard (for Pogba 10′) — 4 — Looked more lively when Jadon Sancho came on and he had a dance partner, but not enough to truly trouble Liverpool.

Jadon Sancho (for Jones 45′) — 5 — On the bench for some reason, Sancho was United’s best player on the whole. He tried to make things happen and injected a bit of energy upon his introduction.

Hannibal Mejbri (for Elanga 84′) — 5 — Got a lot of praise from Neville for making two fouls… just about summed Man Utd up.


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