Man Utd must end fairytale and sack Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after humiliating Liverpool defeat – John Cross
The Manchester United boss described the defeat as one of his darkest days in the job as his role as manager hangs by a thread
When the fans turn, it is all over.
And this felt like a game changer for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because this was humiliation, capitulation and downright embarrassing.
The Manchester United fans were in mutiny at half time as they booed their team off and by full time the stadium was half empty as they had long since given up and walked out.
Liverpool were magnificent, Mo Salah scored a sensational hat trick in their biggest ever win over Manchester United at Old Trafford. It was an “I was there” moment.
But United were so poor, an utter shambles in defence as they completely lost their way as Paul Pogba was sent off and Cristiano Ronaldo was also very lucky not to see red.
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United boss Solskjaer will be thankful the fans did not call for his head but that is probably out of blind and admirable loyalty towards an all time legend.
But the reality is that any manager will struggle to keep his job after that sort of battering. United have stuck with him through thick and thin, but losing 5-0 to your greatest rival is simply unacceptable.
If United have any ambition to get back to being one of the best clubs in Europe then they have to give up on the fairytale of a returning hero and get real with a proper, experienced world class coach.
This has been coming for a while. It was not a freak result as they have been increasingly bad in recent weeks, taking just one point from their last four Premier League games.
Liverpool were on a completely different level from the very start, it was the first time United have been 4-0 down at half time in the Premier League era and it could have been even worse.
United played the last half an hour with ten men, Liverpool toyed with them but ultimately did not go for the kill as an even bigger scoreline would surely have done for Solskjaer.
As the goals flooded in, the TV cameras panned to the directors’ box and there was Sir Alex Ferguson shaking his head in disbelief, Sir Kenny Dalglish laughing his head off and the history of these two clubs leaves Solskjaer drowning under the expectations of the past.
The floodgates opened after just five minutes and that was down to United’s sloppy defending. Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino combined, Luke Shaw played Salah onside and Naby Keita raced through to open the scoring.
The second goal came six minutes later after even worse defending. Harry Maguire and Shaw collided into each other, Keita spread the ball wide to Trent Alexander-Arnold and his low, drilled cross was turned in by Jota.
Liverpool’s third came after a wonderful passing move, Salah saw his shot charged down and then Keita’s low cross was turned in by Salah.
Ronaldo was lucky not to see red in first half injury time for a nasty, snarling challenge on Liverpool substitute Curtis Jones. Jordan Henderson was furious, Ronaldo lucky to only get yellow.
But the let-off was short lived. Firmino, Robertson and Jota combined again to set up Salah in the third minute of injury time.
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The fifth came five minutes after the restart. Henderson’s pass was sublime, played with the outside of his right foot to release Salah who actually made a heavy first touch but recovered with his second to lift it over David de Gea.
Ronaldo had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside. Then half time substitute Pogba was sent off after VAR intervened and upgraded a yellow card to red for his appalling challenge on Keita which resulted in him being stretched off.
De Gea made a sensational save to thwart Alexander-Arnold late on to spare any further damage. But five was bad enough – and Solskjaer will need all the help he can get to survive this.
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