How will Manchester United respond to Liverpool loss?

On Sunday, Liverpool brought Manchester United crashing down to earth with a 7-0 rout at Anfield in the visitors’ worst competitive loss in more than 90 years. After the drubbing at the hands of their bitter rivals, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag forced the players to sit in silence and listen to the celebrations of the Liverpool players.

Liverpool vs Manchester United

While Man United’s defeat to Liverpool was humiliating, frustrating and excruciatingly difficult for the fans to digest, it is important to note that Erik ten Hag’s side had lost only twice in all competitions since the season resumed after the World Cup. Besides that, they were unbeaten in 11 games prior to the defeat at Anfield.

So, the manner in which Man United capitulated at the hands of Liverpool in the second half was worrisome, moreover, given the fact that they were riding high on beating Barcelona in the Europa League knockout play-off matchup and lifting the Carabao Cup. However, it was not the first time United has been embarrassed in Ten Hag’s early reign at Old Trafford.

The 4-0 battering at the hands of Brentford away in only his second league game in charge sparked debate about whether he was good enough to manage such a massive club. Then there was the 6-3 defeat at Manchester City in October, which was also upsetting from the Red Devils’ viewpoint regardless of them scoring thrice in the game.

However, after both defeats, Ten Hag managed to get rousing responses from his boys. The defeat at Brentford was followed by four straight league wins including against Liverpool and Arsenal. After going 6-3 down to City at the Etihad Stadium, the Reds went nine games unbeaten—won seven and drawn twice.

The Dutchman was aware that his team had to get better and evolve as a unit. The 53-year-old was never going to allow those defeats to crush his players’ confidence and belief, but he ensured that they were mindful of the fact that they all represented United and the responsibilities that come with wearing the famous Red.

Ten Hag is a realist and knows his United team are not the finished article. He has transformed the club in a very short period of time but knows there is a long way to go before becoming the ‘crème de la crème’ of England again. The Dutch manager didn’t get carried away when his team beat Barcelona and will not after the loss to Liverpool.

Just like the players, Ten Hag must take the blame for the mistakes he made on Sunday. Blatant tactical errors were made and he will want to learn from them. A title challenge was premature and the Liverpool trouncing further proved it, but Ten Hag and co. still remain in contention for two more trophies.

The Red Devils are entering the business end of the season, and unlike last season, there is still a lot to play for. Starting with the Europa League last-16 home tie against Real Betis on Thursday evening, the Old Trafford faithful will be desperate for a fiery response from the boys.

Going by how United responded after being given a bloody nose by Brentford and Man City earlier in the season, the fans must completely trust Ten Hag to do his job.

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