Erik ten Hag and Manchester United fans made their feelings known to the players at full time of Liverpool thrashing

March 5, 2023

Man Utd were embarrassed by Liverpool at Anfield in the Premier League fixture as ridiculous talk of a quadruple was finally ended…

Mentality monsters? Manchester United were mentally monstered. The scoreline against Liverpool was worse than under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last season.

Unlike the early evacuation of Old Trafford in October 2021, this was utterly at odds with United’s recent progress. This was a performance more in keeping with the white flag-waving displays of last season.

The only quadruple United experienced was another minimum four-goal battering. It was nearly double that. Liverpool have eviscerated United 5-0, 4-0 and 7-0 in the last 17 months. This was the fourth 7-0 thrashing in their 145-year history.

Since the start of last season, United have conceded at least four goals in nine separate shellackings. Few expected a capitulation as gutless as this from a squad whose mentality has been faultless for most of the last six months.

Erik ten Hag stared stoically as full-time loomed. The away end was half empty. Those in white shirts did not merit applause after such an inexplicable surrender. Those who departed early missed another goal.

Steve McClaren still ushered the players towards the away end and there was applause from those who remained. Ten Hag strode onto the pitch, shook hands with the officials, turned, acknowledged Cody Gakpo and stormed towards the tunnel.

This is a result that warrants another punishing run. Maybe worse. The United supporters who endured such a numbing afternoon might advise something more medieval. In added time, Liverpool broke with five players in the United half to three. The scoreline could have broken double figures.

For a team that finds goals hard to come by, United conceded twice to a goalscorer they passed on. United have had little cause to lament the omission of Gakpo from their squad and this aberration is still unlikely to alter that view. But, as the sign states, this is Anfield, and it is the worst postcode in the world for United to be embarrassed as mercilessly as they were.

It will especially smart that Gakpo was the clinical attacker on an afternoon United had chances to go ahead. Both of Gakpo’s goals were befitting a forward who has begun to hit his stride in the Premier League. Raphael Varane and David de Gea were expertly deceived and Gakpo is a more prolific mid-season Dutch addition than Wout Weghorst.

Weghorst, now on one goal in 13 matches, is so incapable of fulfilling the role of a goalscorer Ten Hag is playing him farther from goal. Still, Weghorst was not culpable of wasting the glaring opportunity that will keep Marcus Rashford up at night.