It says so much about exactly where Manchester United are at present, that they were satisfied to the point of relief with a 2-0 defeat.

And it says much too, about the sheer poverty of their ambition, that there was not even a pretence of competing with Liverpool , never mind actually giving it a go, until the final 15 minutes of a painfully one-sided contest.

Until Mo Salah’s goal with the last kick of the game, there was an eerie depressing sense of moral victory amongst the visiting fans, who became more vocal and more animated as the contest progressed without their team submerged.

Yet it was a hollow, almost embarrassing satisfaction, and the manner in which the Manchester side defiantly thanked their support at the end, was a sorry sight.

The delightfully delusional Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke afterwards of missed chances, and fine margins. He speaks often of his pride in his players and the progress they are making.

Solskjaer could only watch on as his side were swept away by Liverpool
Solskjaer could only watch on as his side were swept away by Liverpool

Yet the grim reality for every United supporter, is the only direction they are going is backwards. They are 30 points behind Liverpool. Let me spell that out for you - THIRTY. After 22 matches for the Mersey club.

And the shocking fact is, they got away with a 2-0 here, got away with the moral victory of not being battered…when the evidence of our eyes suggested it could so easily have been four, five or six for the home side.

That it wasn’t, was down to luck, not tactical intelligence, or any great spirit on the part of Solskjaer’s men. Liverpool had a goal disallowed by VAR in the first half - to make it 2-0 and put the game out of sight - when there was no earthly reason to do so.

United seemed content to keep the scores down rather than compete
United seemed content to keep the scores down rather than compete

They also had the ball in the net when Wijnaldum’s was a fraction offside, and had so many chances to demolish United’s impoverished gameplan it illustrated a gulf between the two sides that will surely take years to close.

If there is a true story of this contest, then it is not that victory virtually confirmed Liverpool’s coronation as Champions, but the fact of how far United have slipped, and how hard it will be to come back.

They are a young side, but so are Liverpool, who looked far hungrier here, even in what must have been those frustrating final minutes for Jurgen Klopp, when his side had failed to put the contest to bed as they should have.

What will it take for Solskjaer, or more likely his successor at the end of the season?

Liverpool scored twice but in reality it could have been five or six
Liverpool scored twice but in reality it could have been five or six

Well a midfield that can compete for a start. A defence that can actually pass the ball out (and playing three centre backs who all hoofed it was a nonsense).

They will need a goal threat too. Here, without Marcus Rashford, who has been ground into stress fracture submission by the sheer pressure his boss is under, there was none.

All that money spent, and they didn’t actually look like scoring a goal.

Liverpool, conversely, looked as though they could score at will, and the only mystery was how they didn’t.

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It barely mattered of course, Salah’s goal confirming the victory they deserved, even if not by the scoreline they warranted.

The celebrations at the end suggested they know now the title is theirs.

This was a big win, not just in terms of the Premier League, but also because United are now not only well and truly off their perch, but have run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible.

This is an ex parrot.