Dubai: Nobody could have predicted Liverpool would demolish Manchester United 5-0 at Old Trafford in the 208th meeting between the two huge rivals but it is a result that ought to carry severe consequences for Ole Gunnar Solksjaer who quite clearly is well out of his depth.
This was the most painful defeat the Red Devils have had since 1955 when they lost by the same score to their city rivals. They were not just thrashed on their own turf last night, they were embarrassed and the Norwegian manager must take the blame.
Backed by the board
He has been backed by the board this summer in a huge way; they green lighted the expensive acquisitions of Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and pushed the boat out to bring back the best footballer in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo. In total in his time as manager he has spent a whopping £400 million on players. And with the existing talent already at the club – the likes of Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial – United should have been flying this season. Instead, they have had their wings clipped and you have to wonder why a squad with so much ability is struggling the way it is.
At the helm is Solksjaer, now in his third full season, and it would appear that he has lost the dressing room. They lost 4-2 at Leicester City in the game before the Liverpool debacle and it is clear the players are no longer responding to him. The longer United allow him to remain in charge the further they risk of falling away from the top of the table. They are already 8 points adrift and face Tottenham and Man City in their next two Premier League games. You can only really see them getting one point from a maximum of six there - if you’re being generous.
Even Solskjaer’s sympathisers must now be feeling time is up for him because even if you leave aside the disastrous results and focus on the way the team is actually playing then it’s even more demoralizing. United look lost. There is no cohesiveness about their play, they have no style and they lack an identity. And this is just not good enough for the biggest football club in the world and I don’t see Solskjaer turning it around. Antonio Conte is available and could be the man to sort out the mess the club is in.
Liverpool, impeccably coached by Jurgen Klopp, looked light years ahead of United and they could have had many more than the five goals they plundered past the hapless David de Gea. When Pogba saw red with 30 minutes still to go with the Reds 5-0 up, there was no telling how many more they would get.
The score didn’t change but what must change is the manager or United will soon find themselves in the lower half of the table, out of the Champions League and in total disarray.