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Man Utd (A) - Sun 24th Oct 2021 (4:30pm)

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1 minute ago, polymerpunkah said:

Maguire is okay as long as they're playing sit-back-and-hit-on-the-counter football, as he can tromp around making clearing headers all day with that giant noggin of his.

 

He's not bad on set-plays offensively, either. The giant noggin again.

 

Beyond that I've got nothing.

You don't need to spend 80 mil to have that

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2 minutes ago, polymerpunkah said:

Maguire is okay as long as they're playing sit-back-and-hit-on-the-counter football, as he can tromp around making clearing headers all day with that giant noggin of his.

 

He's not bad on set-plays offensively, either. The giant noggin again.

 

Beyond that I've got nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He's also got a huge slab head

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38 minutes ago, Section_31 said:

Anyone else find it suss how Caramac sometimes posts gifs of the goals before the goals have actually been scored?

He's a visionary!

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11 minutes ago, polymerpunkah said:

Maguire is okay as long as they're playing sit-back-and-hit-on-the-counter football, as he can tromp around making clearing headers all day with that giant noggin of his.

 

He's not bad on set-plays offensively, either. The giant noggin again.

 

Beyond that I've got nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But they paid £80m for him

The difference between him.and virgil is almost stratospheric.

Their defensive record is appalling and their main centre back doesnt get a whiff of criticism. 

Apparently he plays well.for England but I wouldnt know

 

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24 minutes ago, polymerpunkah said:

Maguire is okay as long as they're playing sit-back-and-hit-on-the-counter football, as he can tromp around making clearing headers all day with that giant noggin of his.

 

He's not bad on set-plays offensively, either. The giant noggin again.

 

Beyond that I've got nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nat Phillips: Hold my beer.

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1 hour ago, m0e said:

You don't need to spend 80 mil to have that

 

1 hour ago, Arniepie said:

But they paid £80m for him

The difference between him.and virgil is almost stratospheric.

Their defensive record is appalling and their main centre back doesnt get a whiff of criticism. 

Apparently he plays well.for England but I wouldnt know

 

I'm not trying to defend him, and definitely not trying to defend his purchase price.

 

Trying to defend Maguire would be like, well, Maguire trying to defend.

 

Just a slightly tongue-in-cheek assessment of his capabilities.

 

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22 hours ago, Daisy said:

 

Na The 4-1 game only had one pen. 

 

It was the 3-0 with Suarez where Gerrard missed the hat trick pen. 

You are correct!

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The path towards an historic victory in Manchester began nine days earlier in Madrid.

Three staff — including coaches that specialise in goalkeeping, fitness and medicine — flew to the Spanish capital ahead of Liverpool’s game with Watford to help prepare Alisson and Fabinho.

The Brazilians, returning to Europe from international duty in South America, would miss the game at Vicarage Road due to the quick turnaround and COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

Knowing that a Champions League group fixture in the tough surroundings of Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium and a trip to Old Trafford were to follow, Jurgen Klopp was determined to ensure the pair received the closest possible attention.

While they waited for the rest of the Liverpool squad to arrive in Spain, Alisson and Fabinho trained at a facility used by the country’s football association on the outskirts of the city.

Later, they moved to a quiet corner of Real Madrid’s vast training centre in Valdebebas, underneath the flight path of planes arriving at Barajas Airport.

According to a source close to the squad, the games in Watford and Madrid felt like “one big trip” even though the players, not including Alisson and Fabinho, returned to Merseyside in between the fixtures.

Ultimately, the manner of the victories in each of those contrasting tests would set the ideal mood ahead of the challenge posed by Manchester United.

“The lads came off the pitch thinking they should have beaten Watford by a bigger margin but Atletico was totally different,” the source tells The Athletic. “We let a two-goal lead slip but we still ended up winning. We managed to recover from that setback. It was an emotional sort of game, with (Diego) Simeone ramping up the crowd. Two-all would have been a good result but 3-2 recharges the batteries again.”

Klopp prefers to stay in whichever foreign city Liverpool are playing in after European games because it means the players miss out on less sleep. He was able to do this last week because of the four-and-a-half-day gap between Atletico and United. While the players who did not feature against Atletico had a session the following morning at Real Madrid’s training ground, those who did play operated from the team’s hotel, using the swimming pool and the gym.

After flying back to Merseyside on Wednesday afternoon, Klopp gave the squad the Thursday off. For Mohamed Salah, though, there is “no such thing as a day off”, according to a different source. Instead, Salah spent Thursday running around Liverpool’s city centre at separate locations in Chinatown and the business district for a television commercial. Before flying to Madrid, he’d spent his Sunday off in London, where he was at a Madame Tussauds unveiling of a waxwork of himself as well as an awards ceremony.

Mohamed Salah meets Mohamed Salah (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Mohamed Salah meets Mohamed Salah (Photo: Getty Images)

Across three games in between those commitments, Salah’s yield would be six goals — nobody can accuse him of being distracted. There is a belief inside Liverpool that he has benefited greatly from a summer off and this helps explain why his standards, already very high, have improved again. The same can be said of Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold and to a lesser degree, Joel Matip, who spent much of June and July recovering from serious injury. The contrast with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, who would struggle especially for United on Sunday, following exertions at the European Championship, could not be starker.

There is a gym-based culture at Liverpool and Salah is central to that. He does not use the facilities at Kirkby more than any of the other players, necessarily, but he does not relent whenever he goes home. “He has dedicated his life towards becoming the ultimate athlete,” says a Kirkby source. “When you have a body like his, it gives a player longevity as well as the possibility to deliver great moments.”

It is believed by some at Liverpool that Salah has a better physique than Lionel Messi. Mane, who was rested against United and came on for a late cameo, has similar strength in his upper body. For Salah, this allows him to do everything quickly: he can score a goal by reaching a top speed, as he did against Manchester City, but it also allows him to change direction sharply — like he did both against City as well as United. On the bench, his first goal at Old Trafford would receive the best reception because it showed both of those elements as well as another side of his game — the ability to nudge his marker out of the way and the awareness to recognise where the ball was going to land. With that, it became 3-0 to Liverpool. The uncontrollable joy on Salah’s face reflected his satisfaction — it was a poacher’s goal, not the sort he usually scores. He smelt the danger.

Two days earlier, the rest of Liverpool’s players returned to Kirkby after almost a week away and a few, unlike Salah, were nursing bumps and bruises. Fabinho left the pitch in Madrid holding his knee after colliding with an Atletico defender following a marauding run. It was realised while still in Madrid that he was unlikely to be able to manage another game for seven days.

Even though news of Fabinho’s absence only emerged on Sunday, Liverpool had spent the previous two days at the AXA Training Centre working on shape and preparing without him. There wasn’t a late reshuffle — the midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Naby Keita knew exactly what was expected of them.

Liverpool’s analysis of United’s recent games had pinpointed how they could expose the lack of protection for Solskjaer’s porous backline and exploit pockets of space between the lines.

Klopp told his players: “When you press high, you have to do it with total intensity, going the last metre.” That order was carried out perfectly as Maguire and Shaw in particular were run ragged. Pressure forced them into a succession of basic errors with both their positional play and their distribution.

Matip, who was named only on the substitutes’ bench at Old Trafford after an impressive start to the campaign, was considered ready enough to play but Klopp is managing his fitness after a succession of injury problems that ended his 2020-21 season in January. Klopp also anticipated that United would play on the counter-attack and this led to him considering Ibrahima Konate because of his pace.

The decision to include Konate and Diogo Jota at the expense of Matip and Mane didn’t surprise anyone who had watched training. Six of Liverpool’s last seven games have been away from home and there have been international commitments in the middle of all that. Klopp wanted freshness at the end of an energy-sapping week and they had staked a strong claim for inclusion.

“Both Konate and Jota had looked so sharp,” says one member of the backroom staff. “With the depth we have this season it made perfect sense to take advantage of that. We were expecting a tough game.”

Klopp shuffled his pack, with Konate coming in for Matip (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Klopp shuffled his pack, with Konate coming in for Matip (Photo: Getty Images)

Klopp’s demand for Liverpool to be brave and play on the front foot was combined with a warning about what United were capable of on the counter-attack if the protection wasn’t right. After the early let-off when Bruno Fernandes lashed off target, that tactical discipline came to the fore. Keita and Henderson excelled.

A strange feature of Liverpool’s rampant victory in Manchester was their misfortune. Two midfielders would need to be substituted before the 65th minute. The first of those was Milner because of a tight hamstring. Klopp had questioned whether he should start with the 35-year-old for the third game in eight days. Had Fabinho or Thiago been available, he’d have probably chosen a different team. Curtis Jones was another option but Klopp decided it was not sensible to throw him back into the starting XI after his own injury problems, sustained on international break.

There was an associated risk with Milner but he’d played a big role in wins in Watford and Madrid. Maybe he could last an hour before the introduction of Jones. As it was, Milner came off part-way through the first half because he could see the signs. The muscle in his upper right leg had tightened.

Then, Keita had to be replaced as well. The Guinean had scored Liverpool’s opening goal and was excellent at orchestrating some of their best attacking play. After a 5-0 lead was established, Paul Pogba launched into him and, from afar, it looked like a bad one. Klopp was shaking his head in disbelief as the stretcher went past him.

In the away changing room after the final whistle, however, Keita was able to rise to his feet and join the celebrations. He had been fortunate. Pogba did not connect with Keita’s weight-bearing foot and he was instead bounced out of the way by the impact. Keita had not twisted anything — he did not even leave the ground on crutches. It was not another Harvey Elliott moment. Liverpool expect any bruising to settle down quickly.

Initially, the referee Antony Taylor only booked Pogba but, after reviewing his decision on the pitchside monitor, he changed his mind and pulled out a red card.

There was still half an hour left to play. United were already trailing by five goals but Liverpool’s bench felt that until that point, nearly every key decision had gone against them. This contributed towards a slower pace, dictated by Liverpool. No further risks were necessary.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernandes and, indeed, Maguire had all been fortunate to remain on the pitch after separate incidents inside the same 15-minute period either side of half-time.

As the Liverpool team bus made its way back to Merseyside, some of the conversations among the staff related to Taylor’s performance, who could have dismissed Ronaldo for violent conduct after kicking the ball at Jones who was laying on the floor after a tussle with the Portuguese. On colder reflection, it was concluded by figures at Liverpool that VAR had saved Ronaldo. Not so long ago, it was the sort of act that would have been seen by the referees’ assistant, resulting in the harshest reprimand. “It was a little bit naughty,” says a Liverpool source. “But when you look back on the cameras, I suppose you could say Ronaldo was entitled to go for it.”

Klopp’s staff loved the collective reaction to Ronaldo taking out his frustration on Jones. Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Konate and Alexander-Arnold raced over to the scene. The message was clear: you mess with him, you mess with us.

“A proper team — always there for each other,” one staff member commented. “Pace, good movement, skill and hunger for the goals, but also a real spirit and unity.”

Liverpool’s players rushed to defend Jones (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Liverpool’s players rushed to defend Jones after his incident with Ronaldo (Photo: Getty Images)

That has long since been the case. It helps that Klopp places as much emphasis on personality as talent when it comes to new recruits. But this summer’s month-long training camp in Austria and France brought them closer together.

Jones, who was also on the receiving end of what one source describes as a potentially “leg-breaking” tackle from Fernandes barely a minute into the second half, impressed Liverpool’s staff with his reaction to the altercation with Ronaldo. “When Curtis was younger, he might have lost his head but he stayed calm and left it to some of the other lads to sort out.”

Klopp ended up losing Keita to what could have been a serious injury after other indiscretions that were nearly just as bad by United players did not receive appropriate punishment. That included Maguire, who was not sent off despite being the last line of United’s defence when he sent Jota tumbling just outside of the 18-yard box with Liverpool already five-nil up.

Though he privately claims to be an Altrincham fan, wider questions have long been asked about Taylor’s appointment to games involving Manchester clubs given that he was born and grew up in Greater Manchester. Inside Liverpool, he is considered a competent referee but on this occasion, according to sources close to the Liverpool bench, there was a feeling that Taylor took pity on United.

“There could have been five red cards for United in total,” says another Liverpool source, who says Klopp also felt Taylor could have sent Fred off for a head-high challenge on Keita a few minutes before he was carried away from the pitch because of Pogba’s tackle. “(Antoine) Griezmann got a red card for doing the same thing on Bobby (Firmino) in the previous game. Where’s the consistency?”

When the half-time whistle sounded at Old Trafford, Klopp reacted by running along the touchline and straight down the tunnel in the direction of the away dressing room. Despite the emphatic 4-0 scoreline, he wasn’t in the mood for backslapping.

He told his players that they could play better, with greater control, and he was desperate to guard against complacency handing United a lifeline. Alisson had hardly been a spectator, making two excellent saves to thwart Mason Greenwood and Ronaldo. Henderson, Liverpool’s captain, helped to reinforce the message that easing off was not an option and that the next goal was key.

“At half-time we were talking in the dressing room that we need to write history, we need to keep going and keep scoring goals — that a chance like that will not come often,” revealed Salah.

Even after the Egyptian completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half, Robertson bellowed at his team-mates: “Keep going, keep going, be ruthless!”

After the dismissal of Pogba, there was still half an hour to play but Liverpool effectively declared. “It was a mature approach — preserving energy,” says one staff member. “Getting the result over the line with no more injuries and a clean sheet was the aim and we did that. Playing this brand of football is intense.”

The scenes in front of the away supporters after the final whistle were made even more special for Klopp by the fact that his wife Ulla was among them. It was also the day when he became the fastest Liverpool manager to reach 200 wins in all competitions (331 games), beating the record previously held by Sir Kenny Dalglish (333), who relished every second from the directors’ box.

Kostas Tsimikas jokingly grabbed the match ball from the hands of Salah before later returning it to the rightful owner. Alexander-Arnold was among the most animated of the players. Being part of Liverpool’s biggest ever win at Old Trafford meant everything to the proud Scouser. On his return to the dressing room he marked the occasion by getting his phone out to take a selfie with the Egyptian.

However, there were no wild celebrations. Within minutes a sense of calm had returned. Thoughts had already turned to Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie at Preston North End.

“Obviously, the mood was good and everyone enjoyed the moment but we honestly didn’t get too excited,” says one senior player.

“Delight with the result was mixed with a feeling that we didn’t actually play as well as we should and there are things to put right. We didn’t control it as much as we wanted, even in the first half, but we were just really clinical. Everything Mo (Salah) is touching is turning to gold at the minute but as an overall team performance we all knew we could have done better. It was just three points and we move on. Just like we did after putting five past Watford. No one is spending time dwelling on Sunday.”

Klopp celebrates (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Klopp celebrates at full-time (Photo: Getty Images)

Klopp provoked curiosity by suggesting that the beer would be flowing on the coach that took Liverpool back to Merseyside. In reality, due to COVID-19, the club commissions two buses, one for players and another for staff. Many of Liverpool’s players live south of Manchester in the plains of Cheshire so they made their own way home. It meant that only four or five bounded on to the carriage waiting to take the players back to Kirkby. They were served healthy wraps rather than ice-cold lager while watching video clips on social media of a momentous afternoon.

It is said to have been a little bit different on the other bus, where the staff sat eased back into their reclining chairs to reflect on a crazy afternoon. Klopp usually has one beer on the coach after a satisfying victory if he’s being subsequently driven back to Formby. It tasted sweet on Sunday evening.

What was the players’ reward for writing history?

They had to report to the AXA Training Centre for 9.30am on Monday for a recovery session. Business as usual.

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13 minutes ago, Baresi said:

The path towards an historic victory in Manchester began nine days earlier in Madrid.

Three staff — including coaches that specialise in goalkeeping, fitness and medicine — flew to the Spanish capital ahead of Liverpool’s game with Watford to help prepare Alisson and Fabinho.

The Brazilians, returning to Europe from international duty in South America, would miss the game at Vicarage Road due to the quick turnaround and COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

Knowing that a Champions League group fixture in the tough surroundings of Atletico Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano Stadium and a trip to Old Trafford were to follow, Jurgen Klopp was determined to ensure the pair received the closest possible attention.

While they waited for the rest of the Liverpool squad to arrive in Spain, Alisson and Fabinho trained at a facility used by the country’s football association on the outskirts of the city.

Later, they moved to a quiet corner of Real Madrid’s vast training centre in Valdebebas, underneath the flight path of planes arriving at Barajas Airport.

According to a source close to the squad, the games in Watford and Madrid felt like “one big trip” even though the players, not including Alisson and Fabinho, returned to Merseyside in between the fixtures.

Ultimately, the manner of the victories in each of those contrasting tests would set the ideal mood ahead of the challenge posed by Manchester United.

“The lads came off the pitch thinking they should have beaten Watford by a bigger margin but Atletico was totally different,” the source tells The Athletic. “We let a two-goal lead slip but we still ended up winning. We managed to recover from that setback. It was an emotional sort of game, with (Diego) Simeone ramping up the crowd. Two-all would have been a good result but 3-2 recharges the batteries again.”

Klopp prefers to stay in whichever foreign city Liverpool are playing in after European games because it means the players miss out on less sleep. He was able to do this last week because of the four-and-a-half-day gap between Atletico and United. While the players who did not feature against Atletico had a session the following morning at Real Madrid’s training ground, those who did play operated from the team’s hotel, using the swimming pool and the gym.

After flying back to Merseyside on Wednesday afternoon, Klopp gave the squad the Thursday off. For Mohamed Salah, though, there is “no such thing as a day off”, according to a different source. Instead, Salah spent Thursday running around Liverpool’s city centre at separate locations in Chinatown and the business district for a television commercial. Before flying to Madrid, he’d spent his Sunday off in London, where he was at a Madame Tussauds unveiling of a waxwork of himself as well as an awards ceremony.

Mohamed Salah meets Mohamed Salah (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Mohamed Salah meets Mohamed Salah (Photo: Getty Images)

Across three games in between those commitments, Salah’s yield would be six goals — nobody can accuse him of being distracted. There is a belief inside Liverpool that he has benefited greatly from a summer off and this helps explain why his standards, already very high, have improved again. The same can be said of Sadio Mane, Trent Alexander-Arnold and to a lesser degree, Joel Matip, who spent much of June and July recovering from serious injury. The contrast with Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw, who would struggle especially for United on Sunday, following exertions at the European Championship, could not be starker.

There is a gym-based culture at Liverpool and Salah is central to that. He does not use the facilities at Kirkby more than any of the other players, necessarily, but he does not relent whenever he goes home. “He has dedicated his life towards becoming the ultimate athlete,” says a Kirkby source. “When you have a body like his, it gives a player longevity as well as the possibility to deliver great moments.”

It is believed by some at Liverpool that Salah has a better physique than Lionel Messi. Mane, who was rested against United and came on for a late cameo, has similar strength in his upper body. For Salah, this allows him to do everything quickly: he can score a goal by reaching a top speed, as he did against Manchester City, but it also allows him to change direction sharply — like he did both against City as well as United. On the bench, his first goal at Old Trafford would receive the best reception because it showed both of those elements as well as another side of his game — the ability to nudge his marker out of the way and the awareness to recognise where the ball was going to land. With that, it became 3-0 to Liverpool. The uncontrollable joy on Salah’s face reflected his satisfaction — it was a poacher’s goal, not the sort he usually scores. He smelt the danger.

Two days earlier, the rest of Liverpool’s players returned to Kirkby after almost a week away and a few, unlike Salah, were nursing bumps and bruises. Fabinho left the pitch in Madrid holding his knee after colliding with an Atletico defender following a marauding run. It was realised while still in Madrid that he was unlikely to be able to manage another game for seven days.

Even though news of Fabinho’s absence only emerged on Sunday, Liverpool had spent the previous two days at the AXA Training Centre working on shape and preparing without him. There wasn’t a late reshuffle — the midfield trio of Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Naby Keita knew exactly what was expected of them.

Liverpool’s analysis of United’s recent games had pinpointed how they could expose the lack of protection for Solskjaer’s porous backline and exploit pockets of space between the lines.

Klopp told his players: “When you press high, you have to do it with total intensity, going the last metre.” That order was carried out perfectly as Maguire and Shaw in particular were run ragged. Pressure forced them into a succession of basic errors with both their positional play and their distribution.

Matip, who was named only on the substitutes’ bench at Old Trafford after an impressive start to the campaign, was considered ready enough to play but Klopp is managing his fitness after a succession of injury problems that ended his 2020-21 season in January. Klopp also anticipated that United would play on the counter-attack and this led to him considering Ibrahima Konate because of his pace.

The decision to include Konate and Diogo Jota at the expense of Matip and Mane didn’t surprise anyone who had watched training. Six of Liverpool’s last seven games have been away from home and there have been international commitments in the middle of all that. Klopp wanted freshness at the end of an energy-sapping week and they had staked a strong claim for inclusion.

“Both Konate and Jota had looked so sharp,” says one member of the backroom staff. “With the depth we have this season it made perfect sense to take advantage of that. We were expecting a tough game.”

Klopp shuffled his pack, with Konate coming in for Matip (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Klopp shuffled his pack, with Konate coming in for Matip (Photo: Getty Images)

Klopp’s demand for Liverpool to be brave and play on the front foot was combined with a warning about what United were capable of on the counter-attack if the protection wasn’t right. After the early let-off when Bruno Fernandes lashed off target, that tactical discipline came to the fore. Keita and Henderson excelled.

A strange feature of Liverpool’s rampant victory in Manchester was their misfortune. Two midfielders would need to be substituted before the 65th minute. The first of those was Milner because of a tight hamstring. Klopp had questioned whether he should start with the 35-year-old for the third game in eight days. Had Fabinho or Thiago been available, he’d have probably chosen a different team. Curtis Jones was another option but Klopp decided it was not sensible to throw him back into the starting XI after his own injury problems, sustained on international break.

There was an associated risk with Milner but he’d played a big role in wins in Watford and Madrid. Maybe he could last an hour before the introduction of Jones. As it was, Milner came off part-way through the first half because he could see the signs. The muscle in his upper right leg had tightened.

Then, Keita had to be replaced as well. The Guinean had scored Liverpool’s opening goal and was excellent at orchestrating some of their best attacking play. After a 5-0 lead was established, Paul Pogba launched into him and, from afar, it looked like a bad one. Klopp was shaking his head in disbelief as the stretcher went past him.

In the away changing room after the final whistle, however, Keita was able to rise to his feet and join the celebrations. He had been fortunate. Pogba did not connect with Keita’s weight-bearing foot and he was instead bounced out of the way by the impact. Keita had not twisted anything — he did not even leave the ground on crutches. It was not another Harvey Elliott moment. Liverpool expect any bruising to settle down quickly.

Initially, the referee Antony Taylor only booked Pogba but, after reviewing his decision on the pitchside monitor, he changed his mind and pulled out a red card.

There was still half an hour left to play. United were already trailing by five goals but Liverpool’s bench felt that until that point, nearly every key decision had gone against them. This contributed towards a slower pace, dictated by Liverpool. No further risks were necessary.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Fernandes and, indeed, Maguire had all been fortunate to remain on the pitch after separate incidents inside the same 15-minute period either side of half-time.

As the Liverpool team bus made its way back to Merseyside, some of the conversations among the staff related to Taylor’s performance, who could have dismissed Ronaldo for violent conduct after kicking the ball at Jones who was laying on the floor after a tussle with the Portuguese. On colder reflection, it was concluded by figures at Liverpool that VAR had saved Ronaldo. Not so long ago, it was the sort of act that would have been seen by the referees’ assistant, resulting in the harshest reprimand. “It was a little bit naughty,” says a Liverpool source. “But when you look back on the cameras, I suppose you could say Ronaldo was entitled to go for it.”

Klopp’s staff loved the collective reaction to Ronaldo taking out his frustration on Jones. Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk, Konate and Alexander-Arnold raced over to the scene. The message was clear: you mess with him, you mess with us.

“A proper team — always there for each other,” one staff member commented. “Pace, good movement, skill and hunger for the goals, but also a real spirit and unity.”

Liverpool’s players rushed to defend Jones (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Liverpool’s players rushed to defend Jones after his incident with Ronaldo (Photo: Getty Images)

That has long since been the case. It helps that Klopp places as much emphasis on personality as talent when it comes to new recruits. But this summer’s month-long training camp in Austria and France brought them closer together.

Jones, who was also on the receiving end of what one source describes as a potentially “leg-breaking” tackle from Fernandes barely a minute into the second half, impressed Liverpool’s staff with his reaction to the altercation with Ronaldo. “When Curtis was younger, he might have lost his head but he stayed calm and left it to some of the other lads to sort out.”

Klopp ended up losing Keita to what could have been a serious injury after other indiscretions that were nearly just as bad by United players did not receive appropriate punishment. That included Maguire, who was not sent off despite being the last line of United’s defence when he sent Jota tumbling just outside of the 18-yard box with Liverpool already five-nil up.

Though he privately claims to be an Altrincham fan, wider questions have long been asked about Taylor’s appointment to games involving Manchester clubs given that he was born and grew up in Greater Manchester. Inside Liverpool, he is considered a competent referee but on this occasion, according to sources close to the Liverpool bench, there was a feeling that Taylor took pity on United.

“There could have been five red cards for United in total,” says another Liverpool source, who says Klopp also felt Taylor could have sent Fred off for a head-high challenge on Keita a few minutes before he was carried away from the pitch because of Pogba’s tackle. “(Antoine) Griezmann got a red card for doing the same thing on Bobby (Firmino) in the previous game. Where’s the consistency?”

When the half-time whistle sounded at Old Trafford, Klopp reacted by running along the touchline and straight down the tunnel in the direction of the away dressing room. Despite the emphatic 4-0 scoreline, he wasn’t in the mood for backslapping.

He told his players that they could play better, with greater control, and he was desperate to guard against complacency handing United a lifeline. Alisson had hardly been a spectator, making two excellent saves to thwart Mason Greenwood and Ronaldo. Henderson, Liverpool’s captain, helped to reinforce the message that easing off was not an option and that the next goal was key.

“At half-time we were talking in the dressing room that we need to write history, we need to keep going and keep scoring goals — that a chance like that will not come often,” revealed Salah.

Even after the Egyptian completed his hat-trick five minutes into the second half, Robertson bellowed at his team-mates: “Keep going, keep going, be ruthless!”

After the dismissal of Pogba, there was still half an hour to play but Liverpool effectively declared. “It was a mature approach — preserving energy,” says one staff member. “Getting the result over the line with no more injuries and a clean sheet was the aim and we did that. Playing this brand of football is intense.”

The scenes in front of the away supporters after the final whistle were made even more special for Klopp by the fact that his wife Ulla was among them. It was also the day when he became the fastest Liverpool manager to reach 200 wins in all competitions (331 games), beating the record previously held by Sir Kenny Dalglish (333), who relished every second from the directors’ box.

Kostas Tsimikas jokingly grabbed the match ball from the hands of Salah before later returning it to the rightful owner. Alexander-Arnold was among the most animated of the players. Being part of Liverpool’s biggest ever win at Old Trafford meant everything to the proud Scouser. On his return to the dressing room he marked the occasion by getting his phone out to take a selfie with the Egyptian.

However, there were no wild celebrations. Within minutes a sense of calm had returned. Thoughts had already turned to Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie at Preston North End.

“Obviously, the mood was good and everyone enjoyed the moment but we honestly didn’t get too excited,” says one senior player.

“Delight with the result was mixed with a feeling that we didn’t actually play as well as we should and there are things to put right. We didn’t control it as much as we wanted, even in the first half, but we were just really clinical. Everything Mo (Salah) is touching is turning to gold at the minute but as an overall team performance we all knew we could have done better. It was just three points and we move on. Just like we did after putting five past Watford. No one is spending time dwelling on Sunday.”

Klopp celebrates (Photo: Getty Images)
 
Klopp celebrates at full-time (Photo: Getty Images)

Klopp provoked curiosity by suggesting that the beer would be flowing on the coach that took Liverpool back to Merseyside. In reality, due to COVID-19, the club commissions two buses, one for players and another for staff. Many of Liverpool’s players live south of Manchester in the plains of Cheshire so they made their own way home. It meant that only four or five bounded on to the carriage waiting to take the players back to Kirkby. They were served healthy wraps rather than ice-cold lager while watching video clips on social media of a momentous afternoon.

It is said to have been a little bit different on the other bus, where the staff sat eased back into their reclining chairs to reflect on a crazy afternoon. Klopp usually has one beer on the coach after a satisfying victory if he’s being subsequently driven back to Formby. It tasted sweet on Sunday evening.

What was the players’ reward for writing history?

They had to report to the AXA Training Centre for 9.30am on Monday for a recovery session. Business as usual.

'Free Barajas.'

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Anyone seen that Sky clip of the idiot Danny Mills giving his opinion on the cunts down the road? He should keep his mouth shut. Ole is doing good job in trying circumstances.

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Pleased to hear that Ferguson was advocating for Solksjaer to be given more time; it took the man himself to the equivalent of the end of this season to win his first silverware, and I think the disruption caused by COVID means that Ole needs an extra season’s leeway at the very least.

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1 hour ago, sir roger said:

I thought Taylor was pretty good on Sunday , and has there ever been a match where one side had five players sent off ?

 

 

Not 100% sure but I think a side has to have at least 8 players or the match is forfeited 3-0. 

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26 minutes ago, aws said:

Not 100% sure but I think a side has to have at least 8 players or the match is forfeited 3-0. 

7 is the minimum, I can remember Sheff U getting 4 sent off against West Brom when Colin Wanker was in charge and the game carrying in. Cunt tried to get his players to boot anything that moved to get a fifth Sent off to get the game voided!

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Stopped watching our games with those lot 5 years ago - as I hated how poisonous the whole thing was and made me feel about football in general - so just watching the first half now. Really surprised at how 7/10 we've been. The team that turned up at Porto, or Watford would have had these for 6 or 7 already. 

 

Also puzzled how Fred wasn't sent off for the same challenge that Mane walked for vs Edersonl

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