Neil Atkinson’s post-match review for The Anfield Wrap after Liverpool 7 Manchester United 0 in the Premier League at Anfield…
LET’S do seven openings:
1. Just when you thought you were out, they pulled you back in.
We were never out, not really, never definitely, but we have been in the wars because it has been such a slog, a slog since last May, a slog since…
2. It started on a knife-edge and ended like a testimonial.
It was fraught with danger and then all the pitfalls and pratfalls were theirs.
It started as a game between the side who are the third best in the country and the team trying to show they were the fourth and it ended that way…
3. Everybody’s funny and everybody’s pretty and everybody’s headed towards the centre of the city and you better had be too. Being fair, a lot of theirs stayed. I’d have been halfway to Newton-le-Willows before Salah had his top off, because…
4. Imagine, right now, with seven in your backpocket, what you would have dealt on. Imagine, right now, what you’d have taken at half time. Let’s never take a thing again. Let’s never deal. Let’s never live to fight another day when we can love the current day. Let’s get ourselves straight…
5. They shouldn’t have everything to prove. They shouldn’t kick off at home to Manchester United with it all to do. They never deserved that. But they did. And then they did. They had it to do and they did it. They proved it again. Forget the seven goals; it’s five consecutive clean sheets and suddenly Liverpool feel…
6. What a glorious win. Liverpool 7 (SEVEN) Manchester United 0, but it’s a day with two auditions to be the main fella, but the main fella is still the absolute main fella. He breaks records, takes his top off, brings people into the game, does the absolute business over and over, and has been written off too many…
7. You know what mojo is? You know what brio is? You know what it is to be alive? We found all those things and then some. We found love in a hopeless place. We found the visceral joy and ridiculousness of the game, of the play, of one another. We found ourselves and we found one another and we should never ever be alone.
Never ever be alone. There is something about today’s performance with Liverpool swarming in pairs, in threes, in fours which just reminded you of the everything.
What worried me pre-match about the famous Manchester United was that their manager was good at space. His team was good at space. His team was smart and good at managing emotions and knowing when to stay and when to go.
It is a defenestration of Manchester United and their clever players and their clever coach. It is an embarrassment of them. It is an undoing, an unbuttoning, an undressing. It is best summed up by Lisandro Martinez on his backside watching Mohamed Salah, the main fella, dance forward. It is a devastating moment — the gulf that was there last season, which looked like it had been undone, that gulf remained. The abyss remains. Liverpool have been poor, and while the abyss may not be permanent it can come back in a flash.
The big picture doesn’t change at all. Liverpool need to invest in the summer. They need to buy three midfielders or two midfielders and a right back and make the big move for today’s magnificent number 66. They could do with another centre back. But what today does is reinforce that while the surgery has to happen, it doesn’t need to be the sort that debilitates. It merely needs to enhance.
What today reminds us of is that it has been a slog and it has been hard but they, and we, remain pure of heart and purpose. They, and we, have the gear change. We are together, and we are always the most likely, and we are the most alive.
Cody Gakpo shows his class. My god, he shows his class. They are two of the most sumptuous finishes you could ever conceive of, two of the finest. They were reminiscent of Kenny Dalglish and Thierry Henry, and they were good at football, weren’t they?
Darwin Nunez is the threat you wanted. He’s just potency personified. Always bold. He gets his brace.
Mohamed Salah is just my favourite and perhaps always will be. He is the main fella of my life. He has given us meaning, and sense, and still does the same. He both takes my breath away and gives me surety.
There is the idea of where you get your education from. Today every single Liverpool forward looked like he’d got his education from Kevin Keegan, but Kevin is from years past. Instead in that lineage of massive Liverpudlian goals, unreal workrate and touch is Roberto Firmino.
Firmino gets to watch three footballers be influenced by him, then he gets to come on, then he gets to score. And he does so with aplomb. We’ve had the best years of him and he’s had the best years of us. There’s something that The Kop wants you to know. Imagine that, imagine it all. I love him.
There are just performances back to front. Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate are the business. The full backs run the show. They are first to everything, which makes it easier for Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to win the next one.
But let’s spend a moment for Harvey Elliott. Today is the best day of his life. I mean, it fucking better be, it’s possibly the best day of mine. I saw the teamsheet and gulped. What a shithouse I am. What a coward. What a mess for not backing the boys and thinking I know better. A mess. Jürgen Klopp knew better and Harvey Elliott fucking made sure.
What then? What next? What next is that we are out, and you are out, and if you can’t be that’s fine too, and that I love you, and I am glad you are here, and wish you could be. The sea was large today just like any other day. Something broke in me on this winter’s eve.
The sirens sing today. The supporters sing today. They do the songbook as United get fraught and kick, and the referee doesn’t do enough.
What’s next is that everybody is pretty. What’s next is we laughed, just like we used to, and did everything we used to do and now we’re holding hands, and running, and it makes me feel, makes me feel, makes me feel.
Seven starts. Seven goals. One end. Into these. Thirteen more hurdles.
I will jump every single one with them and you.
“Seven nil. Seven! Just look at that scoreboard…”
“They have just given us one of the best days following Liverpool, and that is some achievement.”
“It’s unbelievable. We are on the march.”
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— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) March 5, 2023