Manchester United versus Liverpool at Old Trafford was a meeting of two world superstars in Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
However the established order is changing, with Salah the man in the ascendancy and his hat-trick in a 5-0 rout of their arch-rivals was illustrative of not only where he is at the moment but where the two clubs are.
Here, the PA news agency looks at how the two fared on a one-sided afternoon.
Absolutely no contest. Salah is in a rich vein of form and a 10th successive goalscoring game was inevitable. The way United defended also made his hat-trick equally so. He had seven shots, four on target and scored from three of them. Ronaldo was a peripheral figure throughout and his one genuine effort of quality – with the score at 5-0 – was ruled out by VAR for offside.
Again, Salah, admittedly backed by a dominant team performance behind him, was streets ahead. He misplaced only three of 47 passes, ran the United backline ragged and when he was not scoring he was creating space or chances for his team-mates. Ronaldo cut a frustrated figure, isolated from the rest of his side just because they could not break through the opposition wall of possession and control. However, it is debatable whether even a top-drawer Ronaldo performance could have salvaged anything for the hapless hosts though.
Salah not only scored the goals but set them up – creating the assist for Naby Keita’s opener – and was involved in numerous passages of intricate play in and around the penalty area where the United defenders could not get near him. He offered an outlet with almost every attack and was coolness personified in front of goal. By contrast Ronaldo did not even have scraps to feed on, became increasingly disjointed from the rest of his team and that led to his frustration growing. He was lucky not to be sent off for swinging at leg to bring down Curtis Jones and then kicking the ball and the player while on the floor late in the first half. He was the first player down the tunnel, unwilling to exchange pleasantries with anyone.
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