Jamie Carragher tore into Liverpool’s “embarrassing” defending in their 2-1 defeat at Manchester United, while Gary Neville praised his former side for showing “fight, spirit and energy” after a torrid start to the season.
After a disappointing start to the new campaign for both teams, it was United who produced an impressive performance at Old Trafford to deservedly take the three points and secure Erik ten Hag his first win as manager.
Jadon Sancho opened the scoring in the first half with a fine finish before Marcus Rashford doubled United’s lead after the break. Mohamed Salah pulled a goal back late on, but the hosts held on for a morale-boosting victory.
United came under intense scrutiny for last weekend’s 4-0 humiliation at Brentford, but it was Jurgen Klopp’s side who looked vulnerable defensively on Monday night and Carragher did not hold back in his assessment.
“Liverpool were absolutely shocking defensively. They were not at the races at all,” Carragher said.
“Every time United went forward in that first half they looked like they were going to score. It was embarrassing. Liverpool were all over the place.
“United were outstanding, but Liverpool weren’t ready for a derby game. They didn’t look ready for the game and that will worry Jurgen Klopp right now.
“Manchester United got a lot of criticism for their defending at Brentford and Liverpool should be getting exactly the same treatment after this.”
Neville: I’m proud of Man Utd
As for United, the win sees Ten Hag’s team leapfrog Liverpool in the Premier League table and Neville was delighted with but surprised by their performance.
“I’m really proud as a Manchester United fan watching these players and I never thought I’d say that after the past few weeks.
“The fight, spirit and energy from Manchester United was brilliant.
“I’m absolutely stunned, I didn’t think that was possible. I couldn’t believe what I was watching in those first 45 minutes. I didn’t think Manchester United were capable. This is a massive turnaround.
“I don’t know what’s happened this week on the training ground, but they’ve responded. I don’t know what it is but I cannot believe what I have witnessed. They outrun Liverpool, they outsprinted Liverpool.
“That can’t be a one-off. That’s the standard they’ve now set, we’ve all seen the work ethic. They ran a lot more than they have done previously and played some good football along the way.
“The crowd were cheering after two or three minutes because of tackles and effort, not because of goals but because of challenges.
“They were under massive pressure those United players, so to respond to last week was a big moment for Ten Hag and the club.”
Keane: Man Utd deserve all the plaudits
Former United captain Roy Keane added: “Going into the game, the manager made some big calls dropping Harry Maguire and Cristiano Ronaldo, and the players responded. They were excellent.
“It’s a huge boost for Ten Hag. It will give everyone a lift and the feel-good factor will be back for a few days.
“They deserved the criticism last week but they were outstanding tonight. Great commitment, great desire. Tonight they deserve all the plaudits.”