Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick admits the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool was “embarrassing, disappointing, maybe even humiliating”.
In an illustration of the huge job at hand for reported incoming manager Erik ten Hag, United put in a listless display as their hosts ran riot at Anfield.
Mohamed Salah netted a brace, while Luis Diaz and Sadio Mane were also on target, as the Reds piled the pressure on Manchester City in an absorbing Premier League title race. City are two points adrift of the summit but face Brighton at the Etihad in their game in hand on Wednesday.
Rangnick admits that United contributed to their own downfall on Tuesday and are “six years” behind Liverpool as they crave a sustained title challenge in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
“The first goal we conceded, it was not part of the game plan to be that high up and concede a counter-attack after five minutes. That changed the game,” Rangnick told BBC Sport.
“The first half, we were just not good enough. We did not win any first ball or second balls. We were second best in all relevant areas. Second half we changed a centre-back with Jadon Sancho.
“The first 25 minutes we were better and had pressure on the ball at times. Had two or three moments, but the third goal killed the game off.
“For the third goal it came from a ball we should not play. A pressing invitation – 12 yards into Anthony Elanga, who is a player for behind their back line. It is inviting them for those moments and six seconds later the ball was in our net.
“It is embarrassing, it is disappointing, maybe even humiliating. We have to accept they are six years ahead of us now. When Jurgen Klopp came they changed at the club and lifted not just the team but the club and city to a new level. That is what needs to happen with us in the next transfer windows.”
Salah suggested that United’s tactics have played into their hands this season, while United legend Gary Neville labelled his former side a “waste of space”.