“A disgrace”, “shambles”, “embarrassing”.
Ex-Manchester United captain Gary Neville did not hold back after watching his former side torn apart by a devastating Liverpool team on Sunday.
The 7-0 thrashing was United’s joint-heaviest competitive defeat – matching those by the same score against Blackburn Rovers in April 1926, Aston Villa in December 1930 and Wolves in December 1931.
Six of the goals came in a stunning second-half Liverpool display, with their opponents simply unable – or possibly even unwilling – to cope.
Neville singled out captain Bruno Fernandes for individual criticism.
“The second half has been an absolute disgrace,” he said on Sky Sports.
“It was a shambles, epitomised by captain Bruno Fernandes, who has been embarrassing at times.
“They’ve not understood the dangers of this fixture. The Manchester United players have been eaten alive out there.”
Fernandes’ frustration at the events unfolding around him became more apparent as the half wore on.
At one point, when substitute Stefan Bajcetic skipped past him by the touchline, he stopped rather than trying to chase down the young midfielder.
Neville was also angered by Fernandes appearing to gesture to the bench when Marcus Rashford was substituted in the 85th minute, possibly to question why he was not taken off.
“He is holding his hands up asking: ‘Why am I not coming off?'” Neville said during the game, before later adding: “I have had enough of Fernandes throwing his arms around, whinging at everyone, holding his face when touched.
“That wasn’t a captain’s performance from a Manchester United player and I am sure Erik ten Hag will deal with that.
“I am sure normal service will be resumed but they have to own that because that is a disgrace.”
Fernandes also appeared to give the referee’s assistant a push, which was pointed out by some fans on social media.
Fellow former Manchester United captain Roy Keane was equally dismayed by Fernandes’ behaviour.
“Fernandes’ body language today was nothing short of disgraceful,” Keane said on Sky Sports.
“A really talented boy, he’s your captain, but his body language, waving his arms, not running back… you wouldn’t be happy with him in your dressing room.”
Despite his reaction on the pitch, Fernandes did front up to the media afterwards.
“It is very frustrating, disappointing, sad because it is a really bad result,” he said.
“We had setbacks in the past and we have to come back quickly again. This is what Manchester United are about. We can go down but we have to get back up.”
What went wrong for Manchester United?
Everything. Or at least it certainly felt like it.
Keane added that United’s “senior players” went “missing” when the “going got tough” and would be “embarrassed” and “ashamed of their performance”.
It came seven days after the club won the Carabao Cup, beating Newcastle at Wembley for a first trophy since Ten Hag’s arrival as manager last May.
The league form, by and large, had been strong too – after opening with two defeats, they had picked up 49 points from 22 matches before the Anfield annihilation.
But there were signs of trouble against Liverpool, even during a first half where they had some really good moments. Casemiro was uncharacteristically sloppy with his passes. Antony struggled to find team-mates with some of his crosses.
And once Liverpool had scored twice in the first five minutes of the second half, to take the score to 3-0, United fell to pieces.
Ex-Man City midfielder Micah Richards told BBC Match of the Day: “I was in disbelief, shocked and stunned.
“There was no communication between Diogo Dalot and Antony. At times it was like Man Utd were playing with 10 men because Antony wasn’t doing his work. We are talking about the biggest game for Man Utd. I think it was him not helping out his team-mates.
“This is where you see character but you had Bruno Fernandes constantly waving his arms in the air. I think it’s a blip for Man Utd, they will bounce back, But it was humiliation at times today.”
“No-one was expecting this,” said former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Carragher on Sky. “This is an absolute battering for United. Liverpool were absolute stunning.
“It was shambolic from Manchester United,. You don’t expect this from the Manchester United of now, maybe of the past.”
Dion Dublin, who had a two-year spell with Manchester United from 1992, told BBC Radio 5 Live: “I still think Manchester United are heading the right way but every player for Liverpool was outstanding.
“United were just blown away by it and didn’t know what to do. They couldn’t control anything in midfield.”
‘Liverpool were like Liverpool of old’
To focus solely on Manchester United’s failings in the game would do a disservice to just how good Liverpool were.
The Reds reignited their challenge for a top-four spot with a performance that harked back to some of their dominant displays in recent years, as they defended strongly and attacked with devastating pace.
Summer signing Darwin Nunez and January arrival Cody Gakpo both scored doubles, along with fellow forward Mohamed Salah, sparking excitement about the attacking trident’s future.
“It was like a new variation of the old front three at Liverpool,” Birmingham striker Troy Deeney told Match of the Day.
“Younger, faster and stronger. Gakpo is a new 2.0 of Bobby Firmino. The best thing I love is there was always one of them in the middle of the goal. They are like the flying arrows.
“Nunez and Gakpo are 23 years old. Their ceiling [is] through the roof. They are frightening.”
Former Reds midfielder Graeme Souness added on Sky Sports: “In the second half, that was the Liverpool of old. They were first to everything.
“When you watch the very best teams, when you watch Liverpool and Manchester City play at their best, you think they have an extra man. That’s how it appeared today in the second half.”