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The best of the 4 and eulogising Thiago – Last word on Liverpool 4-0 Man United

Liverpool steamrolled Man United for the second time this season as all of the Reds’ front three got in on the act, creating one memorable moment after another.

Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds are giving fans the times of their lives, from Wembley on Saturday to Anfield just three days later, there was no letup from this great side.

Luis Diaz, Sadio Mane and a double from Mohamed Salah made sure of all three points on a night that Liverpool made Man United‘s visit look like an exhibition match, such was the gulf in class.

The victory moved the Reds to the top of the table, for now at least, and offered the promise for more to come as the season enters its most exciting and defining period.

Here, This Is Anfield’s Joanna Durkan (@JoannaDurkan_) is joined by Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) and Danny Dwyer (@decayingcactus), who were both at Anfield, to talk all things United thumping and a certain No. 6.

 

The top moments…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

LEANNE: This is, without doubt, the best Liverpool team of my lifetime and still they find ways to surprise you. It felt like Saturday’s performance against City couldn’t be topped, but last night was right up there.

For a team that’s played so much over the last few weeks, the intensity and energy was remarkable. The gulf in class between Man United and Liverpool sides is seismic and we were intent on reinforcing that point all night. Even when they had a decent spell after the break, the Reds simply went up the other end and shut them down.

Thiago was undoubtedly the man of the match and the entire front three were superb, both collectively and individually.

Mane started his Liverpool career on the right, moved to the left and is now operating through the middle and has excelled in all three positions. His goal was brilliantly taken, but it was his work rate, selflessness and vision that stood out just as much. He has been one of the main men of the Klopp era and still continues to deliver. Few have had a better year than him.

His pass to Salah for the second was one of the best goals you’ll ever see and having both fit and firing will be a major boost for the run-in. And then there’s Diaz. What more can you say about him?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp punches the air as he celebrate's his beating Manchester United 4-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

That he has made such a big impact in such a short space of time is remarkable, and his relationship with Salah and Mane was almost telepathic at times. To have all three on the scoresheet is a testament to the quality at Klopp’s disposal. It is no longer a case of simply stopping Salah – there are three, four, five others who can cut you open at will. What a scintillating prospect that is.

JOANNA: Leanne has summed it up brilliantly there, this side constantly takes it up a notch just when you think they’ve shown us all of what they can offer.

It is the beauty of this ever-evolving side and a significant note for me is how much they are relishing and enjoying the moment they have created for themselves.

We saw some nerves at City the other week but they seem to have been flushed out and in its place a real desire to take on the challenge that is upon them. History beckons and why not go for it?!

The front three dazzled, Thiago was in another world, the defence hardly tested and Klopp couldn’t wipe the smile off his face – it doesn’t get much better.

Oh, and just for prosperity’s sake… Liverpool 9-0 Man United.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' (L) and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: How do you select just a few stand out positives from that? Every single Liverpool player was outstanding.

Thiago on another planet, Trent solid defensively didn’t give Rashford or Sancho a sniff, Diaz continued to impress, Sadio revitalised as a centre forward, Mo getting back amongst the goals.

So much to smile about. The atmosphere was fantastic and the football was so good it should be illegal. Same again Sunday, please!

LEANNE: Echoing Danny, Trent deserves a special mention, too. For a player so often ridiculed for his defensive capabilities, I thought he dealt with everything thrown at him yesterday.

To have beaten Manc United 9-0 on aggregate over the course of the season isn’t normal, but this Liverpool team have made it look so. It was yet another stunning performance in a season full of them. What a team. What a manager. What a time to be a Red.

The quadruple dream lives on…

 

Your pick of the four goals…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: Has to be Mo’s first goal, for me. The build-up play was fantastic, they couldn’t get near us.

Sadio’s assist was sensational and for Mo to round it off by ending his goal drought was just the icing on the cake. Sexy football.

LEANNE: You could make a case for all four goals being up there as our best come the end of the season, but the second one was the pick of the bunch for me as well.

There are just so many elements to enjoy. The quick interplay between Matip and Diaz, the ball in between the lines to Mane, the vision and execution of his through ball into Salah and the finish itself.

It’s instinctive, electric, one-touch football. A scarcely believable passage of play, every manager’s dream goal, and yet something that has become the norm for this side.

It highlighted not only the quality of the front three in terms of their finishing, but the movement and awareness they have of one another to pull United’s defenders out of position and create space. No wonder Trent was clapping them in the celebrations.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates with team-mate Sadio Mané after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JOANNA: Can’t disagree with either of you there but I am going to throw the third one into the mix, purely to love on Mane that little bit more.

Andy Robertson and Luis Diaz were also key to the move, sensing the moment and executing to perfection – but that first-time finish from Mane was another example of the confidence he is oozing right now.

With 19 goals and three assists now this season he is quietly having a blinder after suggestions of a decline and the false nine role is suiting both him and the team.

More of that, please.

 

And can we just eulogise about Thiago…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara applauds the supporters as he celebrates beating Manchester United 4-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DANNY: Absolutely irresistible. He was untouchable. You have to go back to the Steven Gerrard days to find a more dominant midfield performance.

He just oozed class from the first whistle right up until the most deserved standing ovation Anfield will give all season. He was flawless. Magical. A privilege to witness.

I pray he stays fit until the end of the season because he’s absolutely crucial to what we’re aiming to achieve. What a seductive footballer.

LEANNE: To a man, Liverpool were a class above, but it could well have been Thiago’s best performance in a Liverpool shirt. There were some that questioned how his arrival would slow down the build-up play, but he has emphatically responded, adding an entirely new element to this side.

He has become the conductor and general. He knows when to make the pass and what pass to make, when to press and when to sit off and his partnership with Fabinho continues to go from strength to strength.

Just like at Wembley on Saturday, his awareness to switch the play pulled United’s defence apart time and time again. Even when he was pressed, he found a way to wriggle free. No wonder Paul Pogba decided to pack it in after just nine minutes.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Tuesday, April 19, 2022: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago Alcântara celebrate beating Manchester United 4-0 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool look an entirely different prospect when Thiago is on the field and keeping him fit for the run-in is critical. Always proactive and progressive in possession, he keeps the team ticking over and has been instrumental in breaking low blocks this season. He makes even the most difficult of passes look utterly effortless. An absolute gem of a footballer.

JOANNA: He had me oohing and aahing, shaking my head in disbelief and then subsequently pinching myself to make sure he is in fact real and not a figure of my imagination.

The man was on another planet playing a completely different sport.

Those no-look passes that cut open the opposition are magic but it’s his work off the ball too which is just as impressive, triggering the press and pinching the ball back.

He’s reined in some of those sliding tackles that came with a customary yellow card and in its place we have a more commanding, scary I know, and disciplined midfielder that has Liverpool purring.

As Leanne has said, we must keep him fit as he’ll be absolutely key for us in the run-in.

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