Liverpool battered Manchester United 7-0 in Sunday’s Northwest Derby to move within touching distance of the Premier League top four.
The Reds seized the initiative in the opening 45 minutes, coming out of the blocks with real gusto. They were duly rewarded for their intent on the stroke of half-time as Cody Gakpo cut in-field and whistled a a curler past David de Gea. The goal came at a propitious moment for Liverpool as Man United had started to gain a foothold in the match.
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However, after the restart, it was one-way traffic. Jurgen Klopp’s men took off the stabilisers and went full pelt at their bitter rivals. Gakpo, Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Roberto Firmino went for the jugular and smashed another six past De Gea to leave the recently-crowned League Cup winners stunned, battered and bruised.
It was a frantic afternoon in the Premier League between the two North West rivals — and here’s how the players rated at Anfield:
Alisson – 6 – Commanded his box and distributed with his usual slickness, but there was a hare-brained moment in the second half after his mis-controlled touch nearly gifted Bruno Fernandes a consolation goal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 8 – A world-class showing from the Cafu tribute act, whose laser-guided passing and industrious running gave Liverpool a high-octane zeal on the right flank. This was Alexander-Arnold at his very best.
Ibrahima Konate – 7 – Assured and composed, the recuperated centre-back had to dig in during an opening 45 minutes in which Man Utd had their moments. But after the restart, Konate held his resolve to keep Rashford and Co. muzzled.
Virgil van Dijk – 7 – It was a similar story for Van Dijk. There were holes in Liverpool’s defence during the first half, but they kept things tight after the restart to preserve that precious clean sheet.
Andrew Robertson – 9 – A monstrous showing from the perpetual runner. Robertson buccaneered in a typically tireless motion down the left. His energy chimed with the frenetic nature of the contest, while his ball for Gakpo’s opener was world class.
Fabinho – 7 – This was Fabinho back to his best. The Brazilian has struggled of late, but he was Liverpool’s luxurious axis in the heart of midfield. A checkpoint player, everything funnelled through the metronome as he recycled possession and kept command of the middle third.
Jordan Henderson – 8 – Not so much a silent workhorse as a tenacious terrier, the captain played with a lion-hearted confidence and energy that kept Liverpool pressing with intent for the majority of the match. The skipper was absolutely everywhere, manning the engine room with distinction.
Harvey Elliott – 8 – A few sloppy passes in the first half, but the fleet-footed midfielder was the midfield fulcrum for Liverpool, controlling the tempo, pulling the creative strings and playing with a rhythmic fluidity that was joyful to watch.
Mohamed Salah – 10 – Pure world class. That was one of the great Premier League performances from the Egyptian. He absolutely tore Man Utd’s backline to ribbons, from his pass to Gakpo to his well-executed brace. This was a simply sensational showing from Liverpool’s now record Premier League scorer.
Cody Gakpo – 9 – The Dutchman looked up for the game from minute one, providing some neat touches and drifting across the frontline in an unrestrained role. His first big moment came just before half-time as he combined fluidly with Robertson to evade Fred’s grasp, before cutting inside an unleashing a real zinger past De Gea. Just after the restart, he finished off a breathtaking move from Liverpool to dink De Gea and make the scoreline 3-0.
Darwin Nunez – 8 – The Uruguayan took a while to grow into the game, but he came out in the second half with the bit between his teeth, grabbing two goals and destroying Ten Hag’s defence. This was the Nunez Liverpool thought they were getting in the summer, and he is really starting to purr now.
Stefan Bajcetic (for Henderson 79′) – 6 – Brought on to bring some energy and duly did that for the final few minutes.
Diogo Jota (for Gakpo 79′) – 6 – Looked lively up top in his fleeting appearance.
Roberto Firmino (for Nunez 79′) – 7 – Grabbed his obligatory goal. The Brazilian really did twist the knife when he came on.
James Milner (for Fabinho 79′) – 6 – A typical Milner display in that final 10 minutes.
Curtis Jones (for Jones 85′) – N/A – Came on for the final five minutes.
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David de Gea – 3 – He picked the ball out of the back of the net more times today than in the previous seven games combined. Liverpool were relentless. De Gea was powerless.
Diogo Dalot – 3 – Selected over tackle expert Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Dalot certainly didn’t vindicate his manager’s decision as Liverpool cut through him like a hot knife through butter.
Raphael Varane – 3 – The Champions League winner looked more suspect than supreme today. He simply couldn’t get close to Liverpool’s attackers, who were having an absolute field day running rings around him.
Lisandro Martinez – 3 – Looked strong in the first half, but the diminutive Argentine lost his head after the restart. He was getting muscled off the ball and struggled to keep a link with Varane. His collapse for Liverpool’s third as Salah skinned him pretty much summed up his afternoon
Luke Shaw – 2 – An absolute disasterclass from Shaw. From a stunning pass to Rashford in the first half, to a defensive collapse in the second, the England international was like a fish out of water.
Casemiro – 4 – Completely out of his depth in that second half. The Brazilian usually grabs games by the scruff of its neck, but today he couldn’t impose his authority.
Fred – 4 – Completely done in for Liverpool’s opener, the rejuvenated Brazilian lost Gakpo’s trail as he cut in-field and broke the deadlock, before struggling to really assert his authority in the second half.
Antony – 5 – Tried his best to unlock doors and create, but there were too many poor crosses, either undercooked or overcooked. This wasn’t his day, but he was one of Man Utd’s more willing attackers.
Bruno Fernandes – 4 – Usually a creative maestro, Fernandes really struggled to break through Liverpool in the second half, while he was falling across the pitch in a desperate effort to grab the referee’s attention.
Marcus Rashford – 5 – Squandered all of Man Utd’s big opportunities, Rashford has been on a post-World Cup purple patch that has amplified his importance to Man Utd, but today his shooting boots eluded him as he missed several gilt-edged opportunities.
Wout Weghorst – 5 – Huffed and puffed quite a bit, but just didn’t have that little bit of cutting edge and impetuous to really exploit the final third and link with his attacking team-mates.
Alejandro Garnacho (for Weghorst 57′) – 5 – Quiet when he came on, the Argentine didn’t have one of his finest showings.
Scott McTominay (for Fred 57′) – 3 – Completely caught unstuck when he came on.
Marcel Sabitzer (for Casemiro 77′) – 5 – Too little too late by the time he came on.
Tyrell Malacia (for Martinez 77′) – 5 – Same as the above.
Anthony Elanga (for Rashford 85′) – N/A – Came on for the final five minutes.