Manchester United was defeated 5-0 by bitter rivals Liverpool at home. This left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the position of manager.
All the talk before the game was of two star men on show at Old Trafford – Cristiano Ronaldo and Mo Salah.
By the end of the most high-profile game in English football and arguably the world, there was only one winner – the irrepressible Salah.
After five minutes of setting up the opener, the Egyptian king went about destroying Manchester United single-handedly to cement his position as the greatest player in the world.
Salah’s stunning hat-trick increased his season goal total to 15, including 14 in his 10 last appearances for Jurgen Klopp’s team and 10 in his 10 last games. This club record is called “The Amazing Hat Trick”.
He became also the first Liverpool player ever to score in three consecutive Old Trafford games and the first opposition player to get a hat-trick in Old Trafford in Premier League.
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Salah’s mesmerizing form has made him the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or on Nov 29, and the 29-year old set out to show why he deserves this elite status.
Salah’s current contract expires in 18 months. Liverpool has no choice but to offer him what he wants, in terms of wage and length.
Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, and Salah are two of England’s most skilled defenders. Yet, Salah made fools with his quick feet and clever movement.
Liverpool’s impressive win was made more impressive by the fact they had to do it without their strongest front line. Sadio mane was on the bench. Diogo Jota took his place in the starting lineup. He performed brilliantly with industry and guile.
Klopp made Solskjaer and United suffer the worst by changing his strongest team-up for the biggest match of the season. He also selected Ibrahima Konate in defence to make it easier, knowing he could get away without any consequences.
Klopp’s selection team was, in essence, his version Sir Alex Ferguson’s famous pre-match address. “lads, it’s only Spurs”United, once again, was cast as the unwitting fall-guys. This is an indication of just how far they’ve fallen.
United was taunted by Liverpool fans with ironic chants “Ole’s at the wheel”He begged Solskjaer to wave at them, which he ignored. The away fans were enjoying the misery of their most fierce rivals.
Liverpool was forced to observe for over two decades as Sir Alex Ferguson’s United dominated domestic football. United went on to surpass their record title haul, becoming England’s most successful team. Liverpool never reacted as graciously to United’s success on this occasion.
Liverpool’s maiden Premier League win in 2020 closed the gap on United to one title. This meeting proved how far Liverpool have advanced since Ferguson’s retirement.
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United may have won over Liverpool last season, which was their first win since Ferguson’s retirement, but Solskjaer admits that it was more due to chronic injuries than a shift of power.
This season’s title race appears to be a three way duel between Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool. United is so far out of it they will not be able to claim a Champions League spot or even a Europa League position.
Only they know where United and Solskjaer will go. Liverpool and Salah believe that the only way to go is up Normal service has been resumed after last season’s blip.