By Temisan Amoye
Mohammed Salah became the first opposition player to score a hat-trick against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the Premier League, as Liverpool dominated ten-man United in a 5-0 victory.
The Egyptian forward has been in lethal form, scoring in ten consecutive matches in all competitions. Salah also became the highest-scoring African in the Premier League (107) surpassing Didier Drogba’s record of 104 goals.
The victory sees Liverpool extend their unbeaten run to 19 league games, and climb to second with 21 points, a single point behind leaders Chelsea, with pressure beginning to pile immensely on Man United boss, Ole Gunner Solskjaer as the Red Devils find themselves in 7th place, eight points off the top, after just nine games into the season.
Both teams came into this fixture off the back of impressive Champions League wins, Liverpool won a hard-fought victory against Atletico at the Wanda Metropolitano, while Man United fought from two goals down to win 3-2 against Atalanta. The Red Devils almost got an early lead, Bruno Fernandes blasted over after being teed up by Mason Greenwood in the 4th minute. A sloppy pass from Konate in the build-up was intercepted by Rashford who set United going, but Fernandes failed to punish the error. A miss he would rue almost immediately.
Liverpool struck almost immediately in the fifth minute. The Reds broke forward in a counter, catching United out at the back. Salah set up Naby Keita after receiving a pass from Firmino, and the Guinean midfielder coolly slotted past De Gea to send Liverpool 1-0.
Liverpool nearly doubled their lead almost immediately, Keita turned provider for Firmino, but the Brazilian’s low effort was saved by De Gea comfortably in the 7th minute. The Reds continued to pile the pressure and they were rewarded with a second goal in the 13th minute. Failure by Shaw and Maguire to clear a ball in the United box saw Keita pick up the loose ball, and lay a pass to Alexander-Arnold who drilled a low cross across the face of the United goal, which was turned in by Jota.
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Liverpool continued to pile the pressure and looked like scoring again, with the Old Trafford faithful clearly making their displeasure heard.
Man United had a chance to cut the deficit in the 19th minute, Ronaldo blasted over, after receiving a pass from Fernandes, failing to test Alisson in goal. United came much closer through Luke Shaw in the 22nd minute, but the left-back’s effort sailed narrowly wide of goal.
Mason Greenwood tested Alisson with a fierce effort in the 29th minute, but the Brazilian shot-stopper was alert to punch it out for a corner. Unfortunately for United, It was Liverpool who scored next, as in-form Mohammed Salah smashed in a Naby Keita cross to put Liverpool 3-0 up in the 38th minute.
Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo was shown a yellow card for kicking the ball into Curtis Jones, who he had just fouled, with some section of the Liverpool fans calling for his sending off.
It went from bad to worse for United as Mohammed Salah doubled his tally before half-time. Diogo Jota turned provider for Salah who finished in the bottom right corner to seal a dominant first-half performance for Liverpool.
The Man United fans stated their displeasure with boos ringing around the stadium at halftime. Man United were sent out early for the second half, with Paul Pogba coming on for Mason Greenwood, but the change failed to stem the tide, as the Red Devils conceded again, just five minutes into the second half.
Pogba was dispossessed in midfield, with Henderson releasing Salah one on one with De Gea, and the Egyptian finished with a toe-poke to seal his second hattrick of the season and score his 10th league goal in nine matches.
Ronaldo looked to have pulled one back for Man United, but his effort was ruled out for offside by VAR. Pogba’s game went from bad to worse, as the French midfielder was sent off for a rough tackle on Keita, which saw the Liverpool midfielder stretchered off and replaced by Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 64th minute.
Alexander-Arnold almost added his name to the scoresheet, the right-back unleashed a rasping effort that was superbly saved by De Gea in the 71st minute. McTominay came close but Robertson diverted his fellow Scot’s effort to the crossbar.
Liverpool maintained control and dominated proceedings, seeing out a comfortable 5-0 win against bitter rivals Man United. The result sees Liverpool record back-to-back away wins against Man United.
Liverpool have now scored at least three goals in nine of their last ten fixtures, while Man United have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine games.
Up next for Liverpool is a Carabao Cub fixture away at Preston North End, while Man United look to bounce back against Tottenham in the league, after being eliminated from the Carabao Cup by West Ham.