Manchester United caretaker manager Ralf Rangnick has said the Red Devils are “six years” behind Liverpool after being blown away in a 4-0 defeat at Anfield on Tuesday night.
Jurgen Klopp’s men won 5-0 at Old Trafford in October and expectations of a similar rout were well founded as Liverpool revealed the huge gap between the sides with Mohamed Salah scoring twice and Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane also on target.
Liverpool are two points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table, but still need the English champions to make mistakes in their last seven league games of the season to claim the title.
Rangnick will step down at the end of the season, with Ajax manager Erik ten Hag set to take over.
And the German says Klopp’s impact on transforming Liverpool’s fortunes is the example for United to follow.
“It’s embarrassing, it’s disappointing, maybe even humiliating,” Rangnick said.
“We have to accept that they are six years ahead of us now. When Jurgen Klopp arrived, they changed at the club and lifted not only the team, but also the club and the city to a new level.
“That’s what has to happen with us in the next transfer windows.”
Unlike the handsome margins separating Liverpool and City, a 22-point gap now separates the league leaders and United in sixth, with only Tottenham and Arsenal’s own failures keeping the Red Devils in contention to qualify for the League. champions next season.
Rangnick’s attempt to plug holes in the United defense was a callback for Phil Jones, making just his second Premier League appearance since January 2020, as part of a back five.
But it only took five minutes for visitors to be open.
Mane’s through ball picked out Salah from acres of space and he found Diaz to apply a straightforward finish from close range.
“They always try to give us the ball in one-on-one situations, so it makes our life easier,” Salah said.
Two minutes later, the fierce rivalry between the two most successful clubs in English football was put to rest in a show of support for Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese superstar was missing for United after revealing on Monday that his newborn son had died.
Fans on all sides of Anfield stood to a minute’s applause, as Liverpool supporters sang their own ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ anthem.
“It was my moment of the game,” Klopp said. “So many things are much more important in life than football, we feel Cristiano and his family.”
On the pitch, the one-way traffic continued, with United barely able to get out of their own half.
A second Liverpool goal seemed inevitable and when it arrived it was of the highest quality.
Joel Matip fizzled the ball into Mane’s feet and the Senegalese fired a first pass over the top for Salah.
The Egyptian hadn’t scored for Liverpool in open play since February but showed no signs of lacking confidence as he cushioned the ball on his way and swung past David de Gea.
The half gave United some respite and they improved significantly after the break thanks to the introduction of Jadon Sancho.
But Liverpool were still the killer side in attack as Mane coolly headed in the third from Diaz’s cross to end any hopes of a United revival.
Salah then took his tally for the season to 30, including five in two games against United, as he lifted the ball over De Gea from Diogo Jota’s pass five minutes from time.
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