It’s been said for weeks, but today has turned a statement into a fact. Mohamed Salah is the best football player in the world. The Egyptian is beginning to feel like a rarity, a player so enriched in history, now so immortalised, that he can no longer be ignored. And, if some dared still turn their nose up at his ability before a trip to Old Trafford, a hat-trick and a 5-0 win later should make those foolish to still doubt him feeling as red faced as those wearing Manchester United colours.
It was a thrashing from the very off, with Naby Keita and Diogo Jota making it two before the 15 minute mark, and Salah’s brace making it four at the halfway mark. Perhaps the biggest criticism that can be aimed United’s way is that it should have been more.
This resembled Chelsea’s bullying of Norwich. Except, this was not a title challenger against a relegation favourite – although, it may be by the end of the season. This was Manchester United; this was Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Pogba, one of the summer’s biggest spenders against Liverpool – a side some naively wrote off before a ball was kicked after their chequebook was not flaunted so demandingly.
It was a statement. A five star message to the rest of the Premier League. Signed, sealed, delivered, Mohamed Salah.
Mohamed Salah’s Hat-trick at Old Trafford Represents Changing of the Guard
The Perfect Afternoon for Mohamed Salah and Liverpool
Naby Keita’s injury aside, Liverpool couldn’t have had a better afternoon. The stage was set – a stage that would not feature Fabinho, Joel Matip, Sadio Mane from the start, or Thiago Alcantara. The headlines were already written about Ronaldo saving United once more. Or, something along the lines of Solskjaer showing resilience. 90 minutes and plenty of Scouse laughs echoing around Old Trafford later, however, and any form of resilience had been brutally crushed.
For, it wasn’t just the manner in which Manchester United lost. It was the comedic affect, too. Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof colliding before the second goal; Ronaldo’s goal ruled out by VAR; Paul Pogba’s arrival, and very quick departure. Every aspect of what felt like an incredible piece of comedic cinema fell into place perfectly.
Of course, for United fans, this was a horror show. For everyone else who watched on this summer as the Red Devils splashed the cash, it was as good a laugh they’ll get until United’s next outing.
Superb Salah Takes Seat at Throne
There has been plenty of flashes in the pan of football over the years, as we see hints of the changing of the guards. But, it takes more than just a spark. It takes consistency, trophies, and leadership – all qualities that Salah possesses. As if the message was not clear enough; as if his quality was not proven, Salah grabbed the match ball in front of Cristiano Ronaldo. And, with that match ball, also displaced the crown atop his head.
Manchester United were taught a lesson; Ronaldo was handed a realisation, and perhaps some regret. And Liverpool sent a statement.
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