Premier League • England

‘Extremely astute’ – Liverpool lauded after transfer masterstroke helped rout Man Utd

Liverpool centre-backs Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate in training 2021

Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool have been hailed for another piece of “extremely astute” transfer business that played a significant role in their 5-0 thumping of Manchester United.

The Reds produced their biggest ever win against Manchester United at Old Trafford. On a near-perfect day, Mohamed Salah scored in his tenth Liverpool game in a row and became the first Reds player to score a hat-trick against the Red Devils since Dirk Kuyt in 2011.

The only downside for Klopp and co were the injuries sustained by James Milner and Naby keita.

Their potential absences will ensure Klopp’s depth in midfield is tested. That’s something that already happened to their centre-back corps on Sunday afternoon.

Klopp gave Ibrahima Konate just his second start as a Liverpool player following his £36m summer arrival. While Klopp stated it was a simple matter of rotation, his selection was perhaps part with Cristiano Ronaldo’s aerial prowess in mind, with Konate a greater physical presence than Joel Matip.

Konate survived a nervy early moment and quickly established himself in the contest. In conjunction with Virgil Van Dijk, the impressive pair ensured Alisson Becker’s afternoon was quieter than he would’ve expected.

And writing on his column for BBC Sport, Garth Crooks lauded Liverpool and Klopp for the Konate deal.

“The French centre-back – signed in the summer from RB Leipzig – is the latest addition to this Liverpool team and fits like a glove,” wrote Crooks.

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“No frills or skills but he does use his power and strength to maximum effect. This wasn’t Chelsea versus Norwich but Manchester United against Liverpool and Mason Greenwood, Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford hardly had a kick.

“Like Naby Keita, Jurgen Klopp seems to have made another extremely astute purchase in Konate.”

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Liverpool told Salah desire to stay might not matter

Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah 2021

Meanwhile, Liverpool have been told that the future of Mo Salah is not sorted just because of his recent comments.

The Egyptian said on Friday that he wanted to see out his career with the Reds. It came as a huge boost for the club amid persistent transfer links with Real Madrid. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact Salah’s contract expires n the summer of 2023.

Former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha was asked about the 29-year-old ahead of the clash against United. He said on BBC Radio 5 Live: “It is absolutely not up to Mo Salah if he wants to stay at Liverpool for the rest of his career.

“He can say he wants to stay. But when his contract starts to run down it is up to Liverpool to decide whether they want to keep him.”

Onuoha then suggested owners FSG might be of the opinion Salah is no longer the asset he once was given he will turn 30 next year. That was an opinion shared by Jamie Carragher at the beginning of October.

“Players want to stay. But some clubs think that players have moved on in terms of being an asset to them,” added Onuoha. “It helps that he wants to stay. But to say it is inevitable because of how he’s playing now goes against what football actually is.”

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