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Erik Ten Hag’s private anger after Liverpool left Man Utd and Alex Ferguson running for exits



A year ago today, Liverpool embarrassed their rivals Manchester United in historic fashion with a 7-0 drubbing at Anfield.

A year ago today, Liverpool embarrassed their rivals Manchester United in historic fashion with a 7-0 drubbing at Anfield.

It had been a difficult season for the Reds and United went into the game more confident than ever of a result, only to be on the receiving end of a humbling from Jurgen Klopp’s men.

In time, they will talk about this in the same revered tones as some of the finest ever league performances in the storied history of Liverpool Football Club. Perhaps no hyperbole can truly do justice to events at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.

Manchester United, a side who we were informed had made giant strides under Erik ten Hag since their last visit here in April, were blown way off course with one of the most emphatic, dominant and complete displays ever from the Reds against their historic rivals. Or anyone else for that matter.

For this generation, this will now become their Liverpool 5-0 Nottingham Forest; their Liverpool 7-0 Tottenham; their Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid. It will stand alongside anything else that has gone before it at this famous old footballing venue. It was that good.

Liverpool 7-0 Manchester United: at times, it defied logic. Just how were a supposedly much-improved United so comprehensively over-run, out-played and out-fought by a Reds side who have been struggling to put two paces in front of one another virtually all season?

An aghast Sir Alex Ferguson, a delighted Sir Kenny Dalglish and the sight of streams of United fans heading for the exits early doors; they are the scenes that are now becoming part of the routine in this age-old rivalry.

This result – this truly unbelievable result – is surely the moment when that troublesome corner was finally left way back in the distance for Jurgen Klopp and his players. Describing it as a ‘morale-boosting win’ doesn’t come close to doing it justice.

It’s now 13 points from the last 15 on offer for Klopp’s men and it’d take the bravest or most foolish of punters to back against Liverpool finishing this campaign inside the top four as they moved up to fifth and three behind Spurs with a game in hand.

But talk about the Champions League places and how much this win can help towards that can wait. Because this was a victory that simply must be savoured as a standalone. Frame it and hang it in the club museum. It is, by lightyears, the best day of Liverpool’s season. And in the long and winding list of memorable ones under Klopp, it has a strong claim to be recognised as one of the greatest. The Reds simply tore their visitors to shreds in the second half.

And, as the best stories tend to, there was a sublime piece of symmetry to it all as Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo all helped themselves to a brace each before Roberto Firmino stole the show on the week it was revealed he will be leaving the club after eight of the most glorious and trophy-laden years.

It’s the first time Liverpool have had three players score two in a league game since 1968 and for all the talk of the ending of an era now that Firmino will be following on from Sadio Mane’s departure last summer, there is clearly much to be excited about in the future as far as the frontline is concerned. The rebuilding of that particular area of the pitch is taking shape in front of our eyes.

With Gakpo and Nunez ably supporting the Reds’ new all-time leading scorer of the Premier League era in Salah, the next stage of the Klopp attack is gearing up to be similarly exhilarating as the previous. Throw Diogo Jota into the mix and it becomes an even more mouthwatering prospect.

There’s still a rebuild needed but if the midfield puzzle can be solved this summer, the Reds have creativity and firepower in spades in the final third. This was a tantalising glimpse into what lies in store.

It’s been a difficult adjustment period for £37m Gakpo after his arrival from PSV Eindhoven. He joined a side bereft of confidence at the start of the calendar year and, as a result, he found it tough to truly take flight. Recent weeks have revealed him to be a player full of quality though. He now has the chance to become the new, long-term No.9 at Liverpool and his second here was the pick of the bunch as he finished off a sweeping, razor-sharp move involving Salah with a superb flick past David de Gea.

Before that goal had made it 3-0, it was Nunez who registered his 13th of the campaign with a header from the outstanding Harvey Elliott’s cross. The Uruguay striker’s full-blooded displays have already made him a cult hero but he has the class to become a superstar of the world game. His second, an expertly guided header, took him up to 14 for the season in all competitions. Can he reach 20 in his debut campaign? That’s the next challenge.

Salah’s goals, on 66 and 83, saw him first equal and then overtake Robbie Fowler as the club’s top scorer of the Premier League era. Now up to 129, his history-making feat was marked with a classy confirmation from the voice of Anfield himself, George Sephton. We’re witnessing greatness from the Egyptian, savour him while he is here. His shirtless celebrations were reminiscent of those famous scenes of 2020 against the same opposition when the Kop knew the Premier League title was finally theirs.

But it was substitute Firmino whose goal brought out the biggest roar. The 31-year-old tucked home with two minutes remaining to make it seven as the Kop, surreally, demanded Liverpool scored 10. ‘Si Senor’ had never sounded so heartfelt.

The speed at which a stone-faced Ten Hag zipped through the mixed zone area after concluding his post-match media duties was quite the insight into his mood. The United boss won’t want to come back here in a hurry and neither will the away fans, who’ve now seen their side concede 11 times on the last two visits here without reply. This was historic.

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