Liverpool were in seventh heaven. Manchester United were in hell. Utter, all-consuming hell for the Red Devils. There are some defeats that are so traumatic they eat into the fabric of a team; of a club; of an institution. Not just the margin or the manner but the opponent who inflicts it. It can shake them to their core and United must be careful.
They felt they hit their nadir last season, suffering a 9-0 aggregate loss to Liverpool in the Premier League, but that scoreline was almost repeated in one extraordinary game. They are undoubtedly on the right lines under Erik ten Hag but a loss like this could derail their season. It was that brutal. It was that embarrassing. It was – potentially – that damaging. The test is how they now respond and how, of course, Liverpool kick on. Where has this team been all season? It cannot just be because of injuries.
Whatever happens this will live long in the memory; this famous win will understandably be used by Liverpool to goad United for decades to come. T-shirts will be printed and – in the modern-day – memes and gifs made. Whatever United achieve for the remainder of this campaign, how can they live this down? They have lost 7-0 before. But not for almost a century. And never to Liverpool.
At the end Jurgen Klopp declined the invitation from a jubilant Kop to deliver the fist pumps as he walked around the pitch. It looked as though he had his game head on. There is nothing – yet – to celebrate although Liverpool are up to fifth and if they win their game in hand will go above Tottenham Hotspur and into the top four, and Champions League qualification, which not so long ago looked improbable.
This was Liverpool at their best – their very best; this is what Klopp demands as they harnessed the power and the passion and the raw emotion inside Anfield with some breathtaking football. If only that second leg against Real Madrid, 5-2 down, in the Champions League, was also back here.