Seven Liverpool goals against Manchester United? Out of sheer incredulity, Jürgen Klopp didn’t even celebrate his team’s seventh goal, although he usually celebrates every goal as enthusiastically as if it were the last of his coaching career. He turned at the side of the page to the ecstatic fans. For seconds he let her bliss sink in.
At that moment, the heavenly and the earthly seemed to merge once again, the mythical stadium on Anfield Road with the passionate club Liverpool. 7:0 – a result of the century! The Reds had never triumphed more over their arch-rivals. In 1895 there was a 7:1 when both clubs played in the second division. It was an amazing result, Klopp rejoiced, noting smugly that the day felt like “from another season”. The performance did not correspond to the mixed season that his team has had so far. As a result, the Reds closed up on the Champions League standings, with one game in hand, just three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
Manchester United? The record champions last suffered a 7-0 defeat against Wolverhampton 91 years ago. This was “by no means Manchester United”, complained coach Erik ten Hag angrily. He denounced his team’s “really bad” performance as “unprofessional”. Despite being clearly behind, the guests, who won the first title of the season last week by winning the League Cup, naively played forward until the end and allowed themselves to be countered repeatedly. Former United captain Gary Neville rumbled into the Sky microphone that the players had been “eaten alive”. Based on “Heaven and Hell”, Heaven and Hell, they headlined Sun: “Seven and Hell”.
Past, present and future all came together in this game for Liverpool – represented by goalscorers Cody Gakpo (43/50), Darwin Núñez (47/75), Mohamed Salah (66/83) and Roberto Firmino (88th). The 31-year-old Firmino, who announced before the match that he would not extend his expiring contract at the end of the season, stands for the past. He scored Liverpool’s historic seventh goal, almost a farewell, nine minutes after coming on. The supporters celebrated him wildly when, at the request of his fellow players, he stepped alone in front of the fan curve.
Gakpo, who has similar ball skills and was brought in from Eindhoven in the winter, is growing more and more in Firmino’s position. The future in Liverpool belongs to him, as does Núñez, who is playing on the left winger; both are just 23. Núñez’s dynamism and goal threat are reminiscent of his predecessor Sadio Mané, and the Uruguayan has a good header – as his brace now underlined.
But the present is still called: Mo Salah. With 129 goals, the Egyptian is the club’s new record scorer in the Premier League. The record is “very special,” he said, and he’s always had it “on my mind” ever since he wore the club’s jersey. He will celebrate the special occasion with his family “with chamomile tea”. Salah distinguishes “true greatness”, thought Klopp. After the end of the game, the German coach bowed to his striker on the pitch and took off his hat, or his characteristic cap.
At the same time, Klopp himself was given chants. It has been just a month since he was fairly openly reproached in England that his seven-year tenure as Liverpool manager was drawing to a close. At his previous stations in Mainz and Dortmund, Klopp had stopped after seven years. That seemed to fuel the seventh year narrative – until Liverpool FC scored seven magical goals against Manchester United.