The difference in demeanour between Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at full time of Liverpool’s 5-0 mauling of Manchester United was almost as stark as the difference between the two teams on the pitch. While one manager celebrated enthusiastically in front of a jubilant away support, the other quietly disappeared down the tunnel with a shocked expression on his face.
Solskjaer had good reason to be shocked by what he saw from his side on Sunday. United have faced criticism for some of their performances this season, but every single accusation made against them manifested itself in the way Liverpool were able to dismantle their fiercest rivals in front of their own supporters.
This performance and result was so abject that it could feasibly mark the end for Solskjaer as Manchester United manager. The Old Trafford outfit have the talent to challenge for major honours this season, particularly after the arrivals of Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane in the summer, but they are going backwards.
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With Solskjaer’s authority in tatters, discussion will now turn to who could replace the Norwegian. Antonio Conte and Zinedine Zidane have already been mentioned as potential candidates, but it’s not guaranteed that either would fare much better than the Manchester United manager they’d be replacing.

Solskjaer feels ‘rock bottom’ but believes in himself after Liverpool thrash Man Utd

Of course, there might be an uptick in the performances produced by the group of players, but Klopp, along with Pep Guardiola, has fundamentally altered the balance of footballing power in the North West. As long as the German, one of the best coaches of his generation, is at Anfield, and Guardiola is at the Etihad, Liverpool and Manchester City will have the advantage.
Tactically, Liverpool’s structure harnesses their best players in a way Manchester United’s does not, but the manner in which Klopp has flipped the script between the two rivals over the last six years cannot be plotted on a chalkboard. Instead, Klopp has achieved a cultural revolution.
It’s in the way Liverpool now expect to leave Old Trafford with all three points. In the way his players relentlessly press from the front and trust one another to perform their duties and in the way there is a direct relationship between those on the pitch and those in the stands. Klopp can take credit for all of this.

Manchester United's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo (C) reacts after Liverpool scored their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on Octo

Image credit: Getty Images

As much as Manchester United can perform better, much better, they are in the unfortunate position that the two greatest managers of this current generation are in employment at their two closest and fiercest rivals. The reality of their situation is that they might have no choice but to wait out the Guardiola/Klopp premiership.
One also has to wonder what sort of appetite Ed Woodward will have for changing manager this close to the conclusion of his eight-year tenure at Manchester United with the chief executive set to leave the club at the end of the year. Sacking Solskjaer only a few months after he was signed to a new long-term contract would be an admission of failure from which Woodward would have no chance to recover.
If Solskjaer is to be dismissed from his position, the decision might have to come from the ownership level. The Glazers have demonstrated a greater desire to have an active role in the operation of Manchester United since the Super League debacle - see how they got involved in the return of Ronaldo to the club - and so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Woodward might get a call from his superiors.
A lot of soul-searching will now take place at Old Trafford as they look for answers to all the questions that will be thrown at them. Even if he keeps his job for another week, Solskjaer may not survive. The point of no return might well have been passed. There are, however, other factors at play. Solskjaer might be a problem for United, but Klopp is an even bigger one.
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