Thiago takes centre stage
He was born at Barcelona, honed his craft at Bayern Munich and now, Liverpool have the polished, finished article. This was Thiago Alcantara in all of his glory as he strode around the park with a nonchalance that spoke volumes about his level of confidence.
If Liverpool thought they had seen the best of the Spaniard in recent games, this was another treat. Every touch looked as if it was covered in velvet, every pass perfectly measured. The Anfield crowd gasped in awe as some of his delightful flicks and touches, as he quietly demoralised the United defenders.
He had the most touches of any player on the pitch in the first half and that was no surprise, given his involvement in almost every move they had. His involvement in the second goal proved that he has found a role as a No.8 that he is enjoying — and Liverpool are reaping the benefits. With Liverpool’s midfield orchestrator pulling the strings, United never had a chance of stopping them.
United crumble despite defensive change
Ralf Rangnick’s lineup spoke of a manager with his mind on other things after introducing the likes of Phil Jones and Nemanja Matic in his starting XI. But the decision to switch to a back three was questionable at best and disastrous at worst.
It was almost as if Rangnick was trying to avoid a drubbing, rather than going for the win. And why wouldn’t he after United were destroyed 5-0 at their own ground by the opposition only six months ago. With a weakened side and a defensive setup, it felt like damage limitation, but then it had the adverse effect.