Liverpool take an almighty dump on hopeless Man United 1 month ago

Liverpool take an almighty dump on hopeless Man United

Paul Scholes saw it all coming.

As many pundits and fans were celebrating Man United coming back from 2-0 down to beat Atalanta 3-2, Scholes was inconsolable in the BT Sports studio.

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The former Manchester United midfielder was so shook by the way his old side performed in a woeful first half that he could not even enjoy the three-goal comeback. All he could think about was what an in-form Liverpool would do to the United defence.

Scholes would have been fearing the worst. Today, if he could have forced himself to watch it all, he saw the worst.

5-0 to Liverpool at Old Trafford. Jürgen Klopp's side came to town and took an almighty dump over a once-great side.

By the third and fourth goals, the Liverpool players were laughing. They were having the time of their lives. By the time Mo Salah scored his hat-trick to make it 5-0, they were almost past celebrating. Overhead cameras caught sight of hundreds of United fans escaping from Old Trafford with 30 minutes to go.

Virgil Van Dijk and Mo Salah celebrate another Liverpool goal at Old Trafford. (Photo by Alex Livesey - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Paul Scholes felt it was coming. In truth, it has been coming for years. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was never going to lead Manchester United to a raft of top trophies. He came in with scant managerial pedigree and a stop-gap.

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He did a good job in restoring some pride in a season when the club was imploding under Jose Mourinho. The likes of Gary Neville and Rio Ferdinand may have been giddy when United beat PSG in Paris, but who in hell made the decision to hand the Norwegian a long-term contract after that?

It was a bad idea then. They should have kept Solskjaer in that care-taker role until the end of that 2018/19 season and made a call then. Instead - summing up the Ed Woodward era - they were swayed by social media and gave him a hefty contract.

Solskjaer has tried to restore the side to the United way that Alex Ferguson imposed over his 27-year stint at the club. There were some great performances, comebacks and a good run of away days, but silverware eluded the Norwegian. There were improvements, but they were incremental.

All the while there was the feeling that United were just wasting time. United were never going to be world-beaters under Solskjaer, so what were they waiting for.

Instead, the club approved a raft of big-money transfers and hoped the individuals could provide enough magic. Perhaps they could stay close to Manchester City and Liverpool and win a cup or two. Solskjaer would learn on the job and perhaps he could get better too. That seemed to be the thinking, but it was flawed.

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All you need to know about Solskjaer are how bad United are is how bad they often look in the first half of games. They never seem to be able to make quick tactical changes. There always has to be a half-time conference, and you feel the players could be swinging their weight around and calling shots.

The other is how they are conceding the EXACT SAME goals in every game. If there was any firm grip on actual coaching nous, they would be cutting out these errors. Instead it is replay after replay of a back four all over the place and of disjointed units. Replays of players not busting themselves to chase back and fill a gap.

It would look, from the outside, that these players have doubts about their manager and his coaches. The arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo showed the board could easily overall the boss too.

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Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United looks dejected during his side's 5-0 defeat to Liverpool. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

United - it was glaringly obvious - needed a defensive midfielder and a right back during the summer. Getting Raphael Varane was a bonus. Getting Jadon Sancho was a luxury.

Then came the Ronaldo signing. Borne out of the hurt it would cause many involved at the club to see the 36-year-old signing for Manchester City and sauntering to trophies.

United let their pride get in the way. The idea was to keep Edinson Cavani around for another season to take all the pressure off Mason Greenwood while he developed as their main striker. There was a plan in place but Ronaldo became available and United blew up whatever plans they had for the season.

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The club are struggling to accommodate Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba and Cristiano Ronaldo in their XI. You can have one lad cruising about and delivering the odd magic moment. When you have three, in a league where most sides run their socks off, you're in trouble.

Solskjaer was told he was getting Ronaldo and to make it work. He lost control of his team and his plans on that fateful day.

This day has been coming and just about everyone but the most blinkered or delusional has seen it from afar.

The only surprise is that United - so hungry for social media engagements and positive vibes - did not sack Solskjaer at half-time, accompanied by a flashy tweet.

The Liverpool fans stayed behind for nigh on an hour after full-time, singing and laughing as Old Trafford emptied out.

What will last longer - The echo of that laughter or a manager who's time must surely be up?