Liverpool delivered the complete performance and Mohamed Salah became the club’s record Premier League goalscorer as Manchester United were overwhelmed at a joyous Anfield.
United’s renaissance under manager Erik ten Hag already has the tangible reward of the Carabao Cup but Liverpool unleashed a brutal reality check on their progress with a severe thrashing.
Liverpool took control of what had been a tight game, with Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford missing presentable chances, when former Old Trafford target Cody Gakpo applied a smooth finish to Andy Robertson’s perfect pass two minutes before the break.
The second half was a tale of sheer joy for Liverpool and unrelenting misery for United, starting after 47 minutes when Darwin Nunez’s header diverted Harvey Elliott’s driven cross past goalkeeper David de Gea.
Salah bamboozled Lisandro Martinez to play in Gakpo for another classy finish three minutes later before the Egyptian resumed his long-time role of United tormentor by getting on the scoresheet himself.
Salah ended a swift counter-attack by lashing a finish high past De Gea and the rout continued as Nunez flashed another header in from Jordan Henderson’s cross.
Salah then scrambled in the sixth to become Liverpool’s highest Premier League goalscorer with 129, passing Robbie Fowler. He is also Liverpool’s highest marksman against Manchester United with 12 – and 10 of those have come in his past five encounters.
And in a fitting finish, Roberto Firmino – who has announced he is leaving Anfield at the end of the season – completed a remarkable game by making it 7-0 from close range.
This is the biggest win in the history of the fixture, passing Liverpool’s 7-1 victory in the 1895-96 Second Division.
Liverpool are now an ominous presence in the chase for the Champions League places, standing only three points behind Tottenham with a game in hand.