Liverpool brought Manchester United's bandwagon to a shuddering halt as Cody Gakpo, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah all scored twice in a record 7-0 hammering of their arch-rivals to boost their Premier League top-four hopes at Anfield on Sunday.
A week after a resurgent United claimed their first trophy since 2017 by winning the League Cup and amid talk of a title push they were blown away either side of halftime as Liverpool recorded their biggest ever margin of victory in the fixture.
Third-placed United had looked marginally the better side for 43 minutes but it turned into an Anfield horror show for Erik ten Hag's side as they suffered the club's worst defeat since a 7-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1931.
Gakpo's superb finish from Liverpool's first attempt on target gave the hosts the halftime lead.
Within five minutes of the restart it was all over as a contest with Nunez making it 2-0 with a header after some comical United defending before a lightning Liverpool counter-attack led by Salah ended with Gakpo finishing in style for 3-0.
With United in disarray and losing their heads Salah got in on the act to rifle in his side's fourth in the 66th minute and Nunez then sent a header past helpless goalkeeper David De Gea in the 75th. But there was still more to come.
Salah rubbed salt into United wounds with a close-range effort to score a record 129th Premier League goal for the club, taking him past the mark of Robbie Fowler.
Roberto Firmino then came off the bench to send Juergen Klopp's side into seventh heaven although by that stage most of United's army of followers had headed for the exits.
Liverpool had thrashed United 4-0 at Anfield last April but considering the reversal of fortunes for the two clubs since that day this result was a major surprise.
United's sobering defeat, described by Sky Sports pundit and their former defender Gary Neville as a 'disgrace', left them in third place on 49 points and surely out of the title race. They are 14 points off leaders Arsenal, who have played a game more.
Liverpool's fourth win in five league matches lifted them above Newcastle United into fifth on 42 points, three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand.
"It was a fantastic day for everyone," Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson told Sky Sports. "The performance level from every single player was top quality today which is something that we've been missing for a while of course.
"Today you could see the energy levels and everything was back, although to be fair the last few Premier League games had shown we were on the right path."
Liverpool's previous biggest win over United was a 7-1 victory in 1895 when both clubs were in the second tier.
Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.
We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of TheHindu Businessline and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.