By Jason Burt, at Anfield
Liverpool were in seventh heaven. Manchester United were in hell. Utter, all-consuming hell for the Red Devils. There are some defeats that are so traumatic they eat into the fabric of a team; of a club; of an institution. Not just the margin or the manner but the opponent who inflicts it. It can shake them to their core and United must be careful.
They felt they hit their nadir last season, suffering a 9-0 aggregate loss to Liverpool in the Premier League, but that scoreline was almost repeated in one extraordinary game. They are undoubtedly on the right lines under Erik ten Hag but a loss like this could derail their season. It was that brutal. It was that embarrassing. It was – potentially – that damaging. The test is how they now respond and how, of course, Liverpool kick on. Where has this team been all season? It cannot just be because of injuries.
Whatever happens this will live long in the memory; this famous win will understandably be used by Liverpool to goad United for decades to come. T-shirts will be printed and – in the modern-day – memes and gifs made. Whatever United achieve for the remainder of this campaign, how can they live this down? They have lost 7-0 before. But not for almost a century. And never to Liverpool.
At the end Jurgen Klopp declined the invitation from a jubilant Kop to deliver the fist pumps as he walked around the pitch. It looked as though he had his game head on. There is nothing – yet – to celebrate although Liverpool are up to fifth and if they win their game in hand will go above Tottenham Hotspur and into the top four, and Champions League qualification, which not so long ago looked improbable.
This was Liverpool at their best – their very best; this is what Klopp demands as they harnessed the power and the passion and the raw emotion inside Anfield with some breathtaking football. If only that second leg against Real Madrid, 5-2 down, in the Champions League, was also back here.
Before the win over Wolves Klopp had called it a defining week and the definition is clear: write off Liverpool at your peril while United are certainly not title contenders. In one afternoon, that argument has been made a mockery.
United have to now just make sure they are also in that top-four. They cannot hope for more. They are not good enough to pretend otherwise. This was as sobering as it gets.
There is another definition that a shell-shocked Ten Hag will ruefully reflect on – always try and give a manager the player he wants. And yet another for Liverpool fans – do not dismiss a new signing too early.
Ten Hag pushed for Cody Gakpo in the January transfer window but compromised because United’s finances were stretched by last summer’s signings – not least the acquisition of £86 million winger Antony, who was frankly woeful here.
So in swooped Liverpool with a deal PSV Eindhoven could not refuse and so, inevitably, Gakpo responded with two goals and his best performance so far – by some margin – for the Anfield club while Ten Hag had to settle for Wout Weghorst on loan. He lasted less than an hour before being substituted.
But that was just a sub-plot. As brilliantly thrilling as Liverpool’s attacking play was in the second-half it still did not explain how United folded with captain Bruno Fernandes losing his head. Yes, everything that could go wrong did go wrong for them but, still, a line in the sand should have been drawn. Instead they stumbled like a punch-drunk boxer.
Mohamed Salah’s two goals took him to 129 – one ahead of Robbie Fowler’s Premier League record for Liverpool – and what an opponent to do that against. Salah was a relentless force of nature at times, aided by Gakpo and also Darwin Nunez. Two goals for each of them too and – suddenly – a new and exciting front three has emerged for Liverpool to be augmented by Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. The final goal came from another forward, substitute Roberto Firmino, who was once so important but has now been edged out of that equation.
It makes a mockery of Liverpool’s struggles.
What will alarm Ten Hag is not just the defeat, and the horrific margin of it, but also that utter capitulation after a first-half in which, arguably, United were the better side. They looked resolute and composed and missed two good chances before the collapse which started as Gakpo claimed his first, running onto Andrew Robertson’s incisive pass to beat David de Gea.
With the half-time whistle it was a test for United. How would they respond? No-one expected it to be with a crass, hapless performance as their defence crumbled in the face of an onslaught that became ever more frantic and relentless. It was awesome at times but that is no excuse for United.
As – not for the last time – United failed to clear, Nunez headed home, but it was Gakpo’s second goal that summed up the gulf. He set Liverpool off on the counter-attack, slipping the ball to Salah who twisted and turned and landed Lisandro Martinez on his backside before picking out Gakpo who had continued his run and deftly lifted the ball beyond De Gea.
There was more: Salah struck with an instinctive finish, after the ball ricocheted to him off substitute Scott McTominay – and he was left unmarked; De Gea was beaten when Nunez rose to glance home a Jordan Henderson cross. Klopp responded with a quadruple substitution and Liverpool responded with two more goals: Salah side-footed home from a few yards out and Firmino from even closer in. “We want eight,” chanted the home fans. It could have been. It could have been even more. The shame was complete.
Follow live reaction below
Erik ten Hag speaks to Sky Sports – ‘The players were unprofessional’
On trying to explain the shock scoreline…
“I don’t have an explanation, I have to find out…In first half we were in control, then one mistake, then [at the start of the] second half we gave two goals away where we were really poor in defence transition. [From then] we were not a team anymore, they didn’t stick to the plan, they were 11 individuals, it was really bad. They were unprofessional. You have to stick together as team with each other and fight together and we didn’t do that…You can have setbacks but you have to stick together and do your jobs. There was no matching of runs or tracking back and that unprofessional.”
On a message for the Man Utd fans…
“I am really disappointed and angry for our fans, we let them down.”
On whether you can compare this result to the Brentford one at the start of the season…
“You can’t compare it, totally different situations. We have made a lot of progress, [but] you can see that if you you don’t keep your standards what can happen.”
On where the side goes from here…
“It’s an unacceptable the performance. But it’s one game, a big defeat to Liverpool [our rivals]. We will bounce back. this team is strong enough, will reset and bounce back.”
Gary Neville on Manchester United’s performance – ‘They were swallowed alive’
On the side’s naivety…
“They’ve built up trust over past few months.. I thought the performance in first half was good…but then they’ve not understood the dangers of this fixture. When you concede a goal [at Anfield] and the crowd get up and it can swallow you alive and that’s what happened in the second half, they were swallowed alive”
Taking a swipe at Bruno Fernandes…
“They weren’t professional enough – I’ll start with the captain (Bruno Fernandes). I am fed up of the sight of him throwing his arms around, whinging at everyone, he has to put in a captain’s performance, that wasn’t a captain’s performance. I think Ten Hag will deal with that performance in the next few days.”
One last word…
“They’ve earned enough respect the past few weeks to say that’s a blip.”
Jurgen Klopp speaks to Sky Sports – ‘A proper show of what we can be’
On the result…
“No words. Spectacular football game. Outstanding. We played top football against the team in form. The second half the start was pretty good and the end was pretty good. That is football, it can happen. We take all the positives from tonight, bar the scoreline, which was a freak”
On the performance…
“It was the push we wanted. It puts us in the right direction. Everyone has to know we are still around. It wasn’t the case for a while but tonight was a proper show of what we can be and what we have to be from now on.”
On Mohamed Salah’s new goalscoring record…
“One hundred and twenty nine goals, that is insane. What an unbelievable number. He is a special player. We appreciate him now but in the future people will look back and be wow, we witnessed something really special.”
Jamie Carragher on Sky…
“It’s almost the actual shock at how has that first half ended up with this second. I haven’t seen that performance from Liverpool this season, that [performance] was from two season ago…I wasn’t expecting that.”
Bruno Fernandes speaks to Sky Sports – ‘It’s a really bad result’ (clearly a master of understatement…)
On the feeling in the Man Utd dressing room…
“We’re frustrated, disappointed, sad. It’s a really bad result. We came here with a different mindset. We had a good first half, we had good chances, and controlled most of it. But obviously the second half we were not at our level, we gave too much space away…..it was not our level we know how much better we can be.”
On shipping so many second-half goals…
“Think the team tries to react, but in a [chaotic] way.. we tried to go forward score, and lost balance and control. We gave them too much space, and they are strong on the counter.”
On where now for the side…
“We have a game on Thursday. We’ve had setbacks in the past and have to come back again. It’s what Manchester United is about. Today we didn’t show this but this team can be good and do great things. We have come a long way this year…we have to get back on track will do much better in the future. Game by game we want to win all games.”
How the pundits reacted
On the shock scoreline…
“You just don’t lose 7-0 at Anfield as a Manchester United player.”
On the performance, especially Fernandes’…
“The second half has been an absolute disgrace. It’s a shambles. Epitomised by no-one more than captain Bruno Fernandes who I think has been embarrassing at times in this game. I have to say it’s not their usual performance, not their usual spirit, it’s not their usual form and he [Erik ten Hag] will deal with it I am sure very quickly, like he has dealt with other situations this season.”
On United’s performance…
“A shocking day. The [Darwin Nunez] goal just after half time…it was game over. The senior players were embarrassing. They didn’t show any leadership skills, the goals they gave away were shocking. They are the ones who let the club down today…Thank God I have never been part of a team that has been beaten by that much at Liverpool…The players will be embarrassed by that performance. In the second half when the going got tough, they just went missing.
On the lack of fight…
“This is the hardest place to come for a United player. When you go 2-0 down you’ve got to show some fight, some spirit. They did not show any of that.”
“Liverpool were back to their very best, but an embarrassing day for United. “United have been giving teams chances but they have left them off the hook. But Liverpool were clinical, ruthless.”
“Liverpool have been sensational at times. I did not expect that. Manchester United were second to everything.”
Mo Salah speaks to Sky Sports – ‘It’s special to win games like that’
On the humbling of Liverpool’s arch-rivals…
“It’s special to win a games like that to with result like that. [But] we need to stay humble, still need to win games, as we’re not in the position we want to be.”
On breaking Robbie Fowler’s Premier League scoring record for Liverpool…
“It’s very special, I cannot lie, the record has been in my mind since I came here, so to get it today against Manchester United is special. I am home to celebrate with family wit a cup of tea.”
On their challenge for a top-four spot…
“We’re now fifth in table, three points behind Spurs and with a game in hand but we need to concentrate on our game and enjoy it.”
Jordan Henderson speaks to Sky Sports – ‘Today was a proper performance’
On the thrashing…
“It was a fantastic day for everyone, the performance level was top quality from everyone. We’ve been missing it for a while but today you could see the energy levels and everything was back. We knew we’ve been on the right path and and today was a proper performance.”
On whether he’s shocked at the scoreline…
“It is a bit, cos of how well they’ve been playing. They’ve been playing well and lifted a trophy last week. It hurt us watching them lift that. So for us it’s about momentum, we kept building and we ended up getting seven.”
On Mo Salah becoming Liverpool’s record Premier League goalscorer..
“It’s no coincidence that he’s got those numbers – he’s a model pro, he’s first man in and last man out [in training] and I am delighted for him.”
Some eye-watering stats here from our chums at Opta
Manchester United have lost more Premier League matches against Liverpool than they have versus any other side in the competition’s history (19). Indeed, Man Utd have conceded 21 goals in their last five league games against Liverpool.
Liverpool recorded their biggest ever competitive win against Manchester United, surpassing their previous best set back in October 1895 (7-1 in the second tier).
Manchester United suffered their joint-heaviest ever competitive defeat, alongside 7-0 losses to Wolves in December 1931, Aston Villa in December 1930 and Blackburn Rovers in April 1926.
Mohamed Salah became the first Liverpool player to score in six consecutive appearances in all competitions against Manchester United.
Mohamed Salah scored his 128th and 129th goals in the Premier League for Liverpool (205 apps), overtaking Robbie Fowler as the club’s leading goalscorer in the competition’s history.
Fair to Liverpool are smiling
Happiness is…a 7-0 win over Manchester United (if you’re a Liverpool fan, that is…)
Salah celebrates his second and Liverpool’s sixth
Firmino comes on and scores the seventh, easy peasy…
Roy Keane is being blunt and entertaining as ever on Sky – ‘I’d go missing for months’
“United have been giving teams chances but they [the opposition] have let them off the hook. But Liverpool were clinical, ruthless…[Man Utd’s] senior players are the ones who let down the side today. Never mind going missing for a few days, I’d go missing for a few months.”
Chris Bascombe at Anfield
Not sure anyone can believe what has just happened inside Anfield. An emphatic statement that Liverpool will be a force again next season, and equally obvious that United’s rebuild has quite a distance to run before they are title contenders. Ten Hag may never have a more humbling day as United manager.
FULL TIME: Liverpool 7-0 Man Utd
Yep, your eye do not deceive you. Liverpool have thrashed their arch-rivals 7-0…SO much to say about that, and yes, United were shambolic. But Klopp’s side were brilliant today, back to their free-flowing marauding best.
88 min: Liverpool 7-0 Man Utd
This is the first time in Manchester United’s history they have lost by seven goals in any competition since 1931 against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Liverpool 7-0 Man Utd (Firmino)
What a moment for Firmino, as Salah threads through to the Brazilian inside the box. Firmino squeezes his effort past De Gea who has to collect the ball from the back of the net for the seventh time this afternoon. Yet another poor goal to concede – what has happened to the solidity that Ten Hag had created at United?
85 mins: Liverpool 6-0 Man Utd
The shape, discipline and heads of Man Utd have all gone. Any slight slither of hope that they could challenge for the title has been well and truly booted into Row Z tonight.
They are miles away from the side of the past few months.
Liverpool 6-0 Man Utd (Salah)
Yes, it is now SIX. And this goal is the most shambolic from a United point of view. Elliott delivers the ball from the right and Shaw with the air of a disinterested teenager kicks the ball away, but only off his own player. The ball falls at the feet of Salah and he finds the back of the net from all of three yards.
80 mins: Liverpool 5-0 Man Utd
United have lost their discipline these past 20 minutes – that, as much as anything, will really disappoint Ten Hag whose side today has looked more like the one that was demolished at Brentford, rather than the one who have looked so impressive and solid these past few months.
78 mins: Liverpool 5-0 Man Utd
Changes for the hosts – Henderson, Nunez, Gakpo and Fabinho are replaced by Bajcetic, Firmino, Jota and Milner.
Liverpool 5-0 Man Utd (Nunez)
Defensive disarray for the visitors as they are cut to pieces. Liverpool have a free-kick on the right, United deal with that delivery but are hopeless with the next. The initial clearance goes out to Henderson and his floated ball is headed home by Nunez. The hosts are pounding their arch-rivals.
72 mins: Liverpool 4-0 Man Utd
Gary Neville on Sky commentary says this shows there’s still a way for Man Utd to go. But, he adds, this can happen at Anfield.
How Salah made it four…
…and equalled Robbie Fowler’s Premier League goalscoring record for Liverpool in the process.
Chris Bascombe at Anfield
Pretty extraordinary capitulation by United since half-time. Think we can officially declare the quadruple ‘bid’ over.
65 mins: Liverpool 4-0 Man Utd
This is the Liverpool of the past few seasons – not the one of this campaign. The Liverpool that is hard to live with when it gets up a head of steam. Manchester United haven’t been able to live with them since the break and their players are losing their heads as Shaw’s boot nibbles at Nunez’s back.
Liverpool 4-0 Man Utd (Salah)
Of course it’s Salah – he loves scoring in this match…United cannot create anything from the corner and Liverpool ship the ball at pace to the other end of the pitch. They are lucky as a good block comes straight back to the Reds, it falls to Salah in the box and he volleys first time to give De Gea no chance at all.
63 mins: Liverpool 3-0 Man Utd
McTominay only sees yellow for what looks like a nasty follow through on Gakpo. Meanwhile, the other United sub, Garnacho, wins the visitors a corner.
60 mins: Liverpool 3-0 Man Utd
Manchester United look shell-shocked. A side in this fixture has comeback from 3-0, but that was way back in 1994, when the hosts sent Anfield crazy after a Neil Ruddock equaliser in the 79th minute. And it was already 3-2 at the break.
Great from Gakpo
How Nunez put Liverpool two-up
54 mins: Liverpool 3-0 Man Utd
No shock to see Ten Hag makes some changes. Weghorst and Fred make way for Garnacho and McTominay.
53 mins: Liverpool 3-0 Man Utd
Liverpool nearly gift the visitors a slither of hope as Alisson is caught out with the ball at his feet. Fernandes takes the ball and falls under a challenge from the Brazilian keeper. Play is waved on and Var decides not to intervene.
52 mins: Liverpool 3-0 Man Utd
Think that’s game over. A devastating period either side of half time has seen United, who were slightly on top, go from level to 3-0 down…
Ten Hag can change games but think this is a goal too far.
Liverpool 3-0 Man Utd (Gakpo)
Devastating stuff from the hosts. It’s one end to the other in a matter of seconds. The ball is with Salah on the right. He plays in Gakpo in the inside-right channel, the Dutchman still has plenty to do as he finishes brilliantly, chipping the ball over an on-rushing De Gea from a tight angle. That strike was better than his first.
Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd (Nunez)
What a start for Liverpool – they got one just before the break and now have another just after. This one is a gift from United as mistake follows mistake. Shaw gives away the ball, then the backline looks at sixes and sevens . Shaw fails to properly cut out a Salah ball and that allows Elliott to play an easy ball into the six-yard box and Nunez heads home.
45 mins: Liverpool 1-0 Man Utd
They’re back under way at Anfield, can United get back into this?
Chris Bascombe at Anfield
Gakpo”s strike has lit the fuse. Until then the most animated Klopp had been was directing fury at the linesman’s refusal to raise his flag. Big moment for the Dutchman. Could be a thrilling second half as United open up more.
That Gakpo goal in film form
That Gakpo goal in pics form
Gakpo lets fly having cut inside onto his right boot.
What pure joy looks like, as the goalscorer wheels away in delight.
HALF TIME: Liverpool 1-0 Man Utd
Manchester United had done the hard work, weathered the early storm and grown well into the game, creating all the good chances. But they’ve been undone by a good goal, created by Robertson and scored with some flair by Gakpo. That was Liverpool’s first shot on target and it’s roused a home crowd who had gone quiet.
44 mins: Liverpool 1-0 Man Utd
Very nearly an instant response from the visitors as the ball is played into the Liverpool box and Weghorst’s shot is blocked by a wall of red shirts.
That chance for United illustrates that attack is probably the best form of defence for the hosts.
Liverpool 1-0 Man Utd (Gakpo)
Good goal this one and it’s come from their first shot on target. Gakpo is found on the left. He feeds Robertson who is in the inside-left channel. The Scot then plays a lovely through-ball for the Dutchman who cuts inside on his right before firing and finding the far corner of the net.
40 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
The ball is in the back of the net BUT it won’t count and there’s not need for the drama of Var to confirm that. United have a free-kick on the left, Casemiro is first to the ball and heads into a non-lead. He was well offside as the Liverpool defence held its line.
38 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Liverpool are looking of shape and edgy at the back. Antony is growing into the game as he intercepts a non-descript pass on the halfway line and makes a run into the Liverpool box, he receives the ball back from Rashford causing a brief panic in the hosts’ area. Liverpool deal with the danger but it’s United who are looking the more likely to score.
34 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
For all Liverpool’s early possession and territorial advantage it’s Man Utd who are looking the more dangerous and threatening.
Chris Bascombe at Anfield
United slowing the game down at every opportunity. Feels like Ten Hag is expecting Liverpool to run out of steam after a lively start as they did against Real Madrid 12 days ago. Risky game.
32 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Free-kick for United on the left – Shaw takes it and Dalot has a free header in the box that Alisson claims well.
30 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Shaw fouls Salah, who looks up for this, and Liverpool have a free-kick on the right. They cannot trouble the United backline and the visitors break with Antony on the left, but he dithers on the ball and crosses to Rashford about three seconds too late. The ball should have been played sooner and Rashford, who was free in the middle, looks slightly annoyed that it wasn’t.
27 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
The visitors have slowly, but surely played their way more into this. Two good chances arrive in a matter of seconds. The first a Fernandes header after a fine cross from the right by Antony, this attempt just goes wide of the right upright. Then Rashford is played through on goal after a peach of a crossfield ball from Luke Shaw. The United man hits it first time and Alisson saves well. Warning signs for the hosts.
25 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
It’s Salah vs Martinez on the right – the United defender brings the Liverpool man down with what looks like an arm but the referee doesn’t agree and the play runs on.
Liverpool on top, but no real chances yet
22 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Salah comes into the centre, he finds Robertson on the left whose shot is blocked by the head of Martinez. The ball then end up with the left-back and his dangerous near-post delivery is well cut out by Martinez (again) while under pressure from Nunez.
Liverpool are on top, but need to fashion a clear-cut chance for this current dominance to count…
20 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
United are taking their time on set pieces – clearly trying to slow the game down and play at their pace. Still no real chances for either side.
17 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
United looking a little uncertain at the back as they allow Salah the time and space to bring down the ball on the byline in their own box. Liverpool ultimately fashion a half-chance for Nunez, his attempt is wide, but it wouldn’t have counted had it found the back of the net anyway as it was offside.
15 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Liverpool have dominated both territory and possession but De Gea is yet to really be forced into a save. The ball is in the United box, there’s a bit of pinball and a mild bit of panic in the visitors’ defence, but no shot on target as the ball ends up dribbling out of play.
12 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Fabinho finds Salah on the edge of the box, the Egyptian cuts back onto his trusty left boot before firing over the bar. You’d expect him to do much better there.
Never a half-hearted challenge in this match
8 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
The first Man Utd attack sees the first real save of the match. Antony comes in off the right and shots low with his left boot, forcing his fellow Brazilian Alisson into a good low stop.
Meanwhile, worrying sign for the visitors is that Casemiro looks to be limping, or at least not moving with full freedom.
6 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
Man Utd still pegged back in their half as Liverpool press high up the pitch. Robertson earns the hosts a corner. Can they create a chance from this set piece? The answer is no, but Liverpool retain possession and United are yet to really see the ball.
Liverpool fans make their feelings known
4 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
The hosts have started the brighter of the two – they’ve seen most of the possession and Elliott has a shot blocked on the edge of the area having been fed in by Salah.
2 mins: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
It looks as though Rashford is playing centrally today – Gary Neville is happy with that on Sky commentary. The first heavy challenge of the day has been made as Fred goes in on Elliott. Liverpool earn the free-kick, but it’s well dealt with by the visitors’ backline.
1 min: Liverpool 0-0 Man Utd
They’re under way at a raucous Anfield. Liverpool are in their famous red kit while Man Utd are in their away strip of white.
What will this highlight of the fixture list throw up for us today? We’re about to find out….
The two teams are out on the pitch
And kick off is moments away.
Erik ten Hag speaks to Sky Sports…
On starting with the same XI as at the Carabao Cup final win…
“It’s coincidence – could have played others but we think this is the best line up for this game.”
What Man Utd have to do to win today…
“We have to play our best play against an incredibly good team, we like the challenge and will go for it…Every player has to bring his performance and levels an. We know that this team is determined and resilient and expect that today as well.”
Chris Bascombe at Anfield…
A fair bit of swagger around from those with United sympathies ahead of the game. Feels like an afternoon in which we will see if United are as close to becoming a title challenger as many believe, or if Liverpool are as far behind as they rebuild as recent performances suggest. No surprise Klopp has reverted to his most experienced midfield duo of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. Slightly surprising Cody Gakpo preferred to Diogo Jota, but in the week Roberto Firmino’s imminent exit was confirmed, what better chance for the Dutchman – a former United target, of course – to show he is the future as the ‘false nine’.
Salah loves scoring against Manchester United
Mohamed Salah hasn’t, his own standards, had one of his better campaigns. But he has a good record against Manchester United – the Egyptian has scored more goals for Liverpool against their arch-rivals than any other player in the club’s history; he has 10 in his 11 appearances to date, including seven in the last five – and if he can find his scoring boots today that would go a long way to helping the hosts to a vital three points.
When these sides last met…
…there were two very different Manchester Uniteds and Liverpools. The former had had a shocking start to the season and Erik ten Hag was under huge pressure, while it was assumed Liverpool, despite their less than good start to the campaign, would soon get their title challenge up and running.
Seven months on, United are on a high having won their first trophy in six years and with an outside chance of the title, and Liverpool are the team with the question marks hanging over them.
The turnaround at Old Trafford has been remarkable.
“The difference Erik ten Hag has made, rather like Klopp’s arrival at Liverpool, has been astonishing. It has been transformative and it also speaks to another comment Carragher has made when he suggested that clubs do not need multiple transfer windows and time to turn around their fortunes. Instead he argued they sometimes just need the right manager.”
READ: Erik ten Hag summons Ferguson as Man Utd try to knock Liverpool off perch again
The two XIs in old-fashioned black and white
LIVERPOOL XI TO FACE MAN UTD: Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, van Dijk, Robertson, Henderson, Fabinho, Elliott, Salah, Gakpo, Nunez.
Subs: Milner, Firmino, Jones, Jota, Tsimikas, Carvalho, Matip, Bajcetic, Kelleher.
Cody Gakpo returns to the starting line-up, replacing Diogo Jota up front as one of three changes from the midweek victory over Wolves. Harvey Elliott keeps his place in midfield but fellow teenager Stefan Bajcetic is replaced by captain Jordan Henderson, while Andy Robertson returns at left-back after being rested in midweek.
MAN UTD XI TO FACE LIVERPOOL: De Gea, Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw, Casemiro, Fred, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Weghorst.
Subs: Maguire, Malacia, Sabitzer, Heaton, Sancho, Wan-Bissaka, Elanga, McTominay, Garnacho.
The visitors make six changes from the side that defeated West Ham in the FA Cup in midweek. Lisandro Martínez, Marcus Rashford, Fred, Casemiro, Raphaël Varane and Luke Shaw all come back in.
Here be Manchester United
Here’s the Liverpool XI
Jurgen Klopp and Erik ten Hag issue joint plea to fans
By Alex Shaw
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United counterpart Erik ten Hag have taken the rare step of releasing a joint statement to condemn “tragedy chanting” ahead of the sides’ showdown on Sunday.
Matches between Liverpool and United have been blighted by repeated references to the Hillsborough and Munich tragedies.
The Munich plane crash in 1958 resulted in the death of 23 people, eight of them players. In the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, 97 people lost their lives.
United are part of the Premier League’s working group on tragedy chanting and have also been working closely with Liverpool to try and remove the toxic songs and chants.
Both the Liverpool and Manchester United websites carried joint statements from the two managers ahead of Sunday’s clash at Anfield.
Klopp said: “One of the main reasons why the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester United is so special is that it is so intense and no one should ever want to change this. But at the same time when the rivalry becomes too intense it can go to places that are not good for anyone and we do not need this. “We do want the noise, we do want the occasion to be partisan and we do want the atmosphere to be electric. What we do not want is anything that goes beyond this and this applies especially to the kind of chants that have no place in football. If we can keep the passion and lose the poison it will be so much better for everyone.”
Ten Hag added: “The rivalry between Manchester United and Liverpool is one of the greatest in world football. We all love the passion of the fans when our teams meet, but there are lines that should not be crossed.
“It is unacceptable to use the loss of life – in relation to any tragedy – to score points, and it is time for it to stop. Those responsible tarnish not only the reputation of our clubs but also, importantly, the reputation of themselves, the fans, and our great cities.
“On behalf of myself, our players, and our staff, we ask our fans to focus on supporting the team on Sunday, and representing our club in the right way.”
Manchester United and Leeds also released a joint statement following February’s match at Elland Road, condemning crowd behaviour after a series of ugly chants which referenced the Munich disaster, and the stabbing of two Leeds supporters in Turkey before a Uefa Cup semi final against Galatasaray back in 2000.