Manchester United’s comedown from a monstrous week of wins over Barcelona and Newcastle United couldn’t have come in a worse way as Erik ten Hag loses his first game at Anfield as manager of the club by a whopping seven goals.
It was United’s worst defeat in Premier League history and the Dutchman now faces the challenge of making sure this does not derail their season amid a promising campaign so far.
The loss is United’s second defeat in 2023 and with fixtures continuing to come thick and fast, there is no time for players to lick their wounds as preparations for next week’s Europa League tie with Real Betis will begin imminently.
Luke Shaw, one of the standout players under Ten Hag this season, endured a nightmare 90 minutes at Anfield and speaking after the game, he has admitted that he was ’embarrassed’ by the performance.
“It’s hard to explain this. I think the standards where we have been at, it was nowhere near it,” Shaw told Viaplay, according to the Manchester Evening News.
“I feel embarrassed for the fans and the people who were watching for us. I can only apologise. It’s not going to be easy watching this back. But he [Ten Hag] is going to make us watch it back, and show us what we need to learn from this embarrassment.”
Bad performances happen but United cannot afford to let this become a theme as they have already capitulated on a number of occasions this season – although that was early in the season and before Ten Hag’s influence could be seen from the outside.
Shaw has been at the heart of a lot of good things this season but that second-half performance was a painful reminder of the gut-wrenching visits to Anfield in the past.
Their stellar form over the last four months have won the players enough credit in the bank to be given the chance to turn this around but make no mistake about it – that was unacceptable.
He should have concentrated more on playing football, what he was on the pitch for, than kicking anyone wearing a Liverpool shirt in a petulant second half.