Manchester United’s embarrassing 5-0 hammering at home by longtime rivals Liverpool has left manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer under intense scrutiny about his future.
A hat-trick by Mohamed Salah, combined with the two goals by Naby Keita and Diogo Jota, resulted in a historic humiliation for the Red Devils, who are now sitting in seventh place and already eight points off the race for the title after just nine games.
Solskjaer is yet to win a trophy as United boss but has been credited with finishing in the Premier League top four in consecutive seasons for the first time since Alex Ferguson retired as manager in 2013.
“I have come too far, we have come too far as a group. We are too close to give up now,” Solskjaer said defiantly after the match as he fended off persistent questions over his future.
However, the 48-year-old Norwegian recognised United have hit “rock bottom” given the context of a record home defeat to their fiercest rivals.
Thought today was gonna be bad but had no idea is was gonna be as bad as that.The way Ole goes we can’t give away chances to a team like this, and we spend all game not marking them in the box, you’ve got to worry about wtf is going on. Liverpool didn’t even need to try.
— Scott Patterson (@R_o_M) October 24, 2021
Former United captain Gary Neville, a former teammate of Solskjaer’s, said the team was “obliterated” by Liverpool.
“This has been a monstrous day for Manchester United,” he said. “They have been obliterated. That was unacceptable.”
The worst thing isn't your rivals gloating when you lose 5-0 to them. It's when they're magnanimous. Or worse, sympathetic
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) October 24, 2021
Neville has been criticised along with several other United legends for failing to question his former teammate’s management of a star-studded squad.
Even that shield for Solskjaer is now slipping as Neville joined Paul Scholes in questioning how much longer United can limp along without making a change.
“The pressure after this game is going to be intolerable in some quarters,” added Neville. “The board have made everyone aware that they are steadfast in their support of the manager and that he stays. Results like this undermine that, there’s no doubt. This is sobering.”
— . (@Nigerianscamsss) October 24, 2021
To his credit, Scholes foresaw what was to come. In the aftermath of a dramatic 3-2 win over Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday, having trailed 2-0 at half-time, the former England midfielder said Liverpool would have four goals in the bag by the break if afforded the same space.
So it proved as United went in at half-time 4-0 down for the first time in Premier League history.
Five minutes into the second period, it was 5-0 as Salah completed a stunning hat-trick.
Liverpool arguably did not even make the most of a historic day as they played out the final 30 minutes with a man advantage after Paul Pogba’s red card without adding to the score.
“Ole’s at the wheel” rang out for the majority of the second half, but far from a show of support, it came from the small band of Liverpool fans mocking the United boss in celebration.
United travel to Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s league game.
— Premier League (@premierleague) October 24, 2021