Liverpool sent out a resounding statement with a memorable demolition of Manchester United on Tuesday.
Mohamed Salah scored twice with Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane also netting as the Reds romped to a 4-0 Premier League triumph over their bitter North West rivals. The result means Jurgen Klopp’s side still harbour hopes of a trophy clean sweep and have now stacked up 11 successive home league wins.
But there was plenty that went unnoticed or under the radar during the 90 minutes at Anfield.
Poor Bruno Fernandes. The player who dominated behind closed doors continues to find life a bit more difficult with people watching, and he had a tough old time in front of a baying Liverpool crowd.
Indeed, he was so spooked that, in one incident midway through the second half, Fernandes appeared to be scared to go into a 50-50 with Jordan Henderson and instead blasted the ball out of play towards the home support. Henderson responded with a withering look right in the face of the Portuguese.
And after Fernandes hacked Trent Alexander-Arnold in half late on for a booking, it was the turn of substitute James Milner to front the Manchester United man. It just wasn’t his night.
Milner spent most of the game on the bench before being introduced to see out the victory. And it was from that vantage point he witnessed Liverpool’s remarkable second goal, prompting a look of astonishment on the face of the veteran at the pass from Mane and finish by Salah.
After the game, Milner returned to the field for his warm down, and was given a vocal reminder by the United fans still in the away end of how they frown upon his Leeds United association.
When he trotted back towards the Kop, the remaining Reds supporters made a point of giving the midfielder a big cheer.
The start of the second half was delayed by referee Martin Atkinson having trouble with his equipment, first attempting to get it fixed on the touchline before disappearing down the tunnel for a few minutes.
To keep themselves prepared, both sets of players began knocking a ball around to each other, with United doing so in front of a Kop end which greeted each successful pass with a loud and sarcastic ‘Ole’.
The sheepish Atkinson then returned and the match could continue. It was the longest period of possession the visitors enjoyed all night.
Mind you, it wasn’t the only memorable contribution from the Liverpool support, who joined their United counterparts in the applause on seven minutes for Cristiano Ronaldo following the death of his new-born son, followed by a pointed rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone.
But when it came to the visiting team, Anfield showed no mercy. “You haven’t touched the ball!” went one chant (United ended with a miserly 28% possession) while Liverpool were implored on several occasions to, er, extract the urine.
Meanwhile, after the game Jurgen Klopp and Ralf Rangnick were spotted having a lengthy conversation deep within the bowels of Anfield. Rumours the United boss was pleading to buy most of the Liverpool players have just been made up.
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