Jurgen Klopp hails emphatic performance in 7-0 win over Manchester United
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Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag has been told to look inwards and take some of the blame for two decisions he made in the 7-0 humiliation by Liverpool on Sunday. Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo all got braces alongside Roberto Firmino’s finish, as several United stars have been questioned following the dismal performance.
However, former Sky Sports presenters Richard Keys and Andy Gray have pointed the finger at Ten Hag for his decision to play “bang ordinary” Wout Weghorst behind Marcus Rashford. “Has he [Ten Hag] not got a few questions to answer about his starting XI and about, sorry to keep mentioning it, but Wout Weghorst? What is he doing at Old Trafford? I mean, he’s a bang ordinary centre-forward, playing at number 10,” Keys told beIN SPORTS.
“I’m saying that he can’t stand there, Ten Hag, and say, ‘Not me, 11 players lost their heads’. I’m saying that, partially, he has to take a look at himself tonight. He’s got a kid [Jadon Sancho] on the bench; they paid £80 million for, and he’s got this fella trolleying about at number 10.”
Weghorst’s sole United goal in 12 appearances came against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup, as Gray claims that playing the Dutchman out of position makes little sense. “What I don’t get from somebody as experienced as him [Ten Hag] is that he can look at that team, he can look at Wout Weghorst and say, ‘You’re going to be my number 10’. I’m sorry, I just don’t get it,” Gray added.
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“It’s a big enough shout, him being your centre-forward, but to play him in a specialist position and think that because he is Dutch, he can do it, no, I’m sorry. [Weghorst has scored] one cup goal and nothing else for me; I don’t see assists. I don’t see him threatening when he plays centre-forward. I know they got away in Barcelona when they played him at No. 10. If you analyze his contributions in that game today, and I hope I’m not being unkind to the lad because you can’t always play well, but I cannot think of one thing that he did tonight.”
Keys and Gray were not the only ones surprised with Ten Hag’s tactical plan, as former Liverpool striker Michael Owen disagreed with the decision to play Rashford through the middle rather than on the left, where he could have directly attacked Trent Alexander-Arnold.
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“Marcus Rashford against Trent Alexander-Arnold was on everyone’s lips going into this game,” Owen told Premier League Productions. “What does he [Ten Hag] do? He puts their best player, in Rashford, or their most attacking threat, on to probably Liverpool’s best couple of players themselves [Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk].
“He’s used to having chances off the left, making a run on a certain angle towards goal. Anybody can miss chances. But he is playing down the middle and he has had one chance.
“He has been lethal all season and hardly missed an opportunity – if I was a Manchester United fan thinking ‘this is an area we could hurt Liverpool’ and they go and play him against two really strong, quick and good players. I am not sure about that. In fact, I disagreed with that.”
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