After Manchester United recently won four matches in a row for the first time this season, people began to suggest Louis van Gaal may survive to see out the final season of his three-year contract that ends in 2017.
His side’s performance against Liverpool in the Europa League this week should put paid to that idea.
While Liverpool looked lithe and alive, United were limp, lethargic and listless. If it wasn’t for David de Gea’s heroics the second leg would be a completely foregone conclusion. Since his arrival in October, Jurgen Klopp has enjoyed some triumphant victories against the Manchester clubs. Although he has also experienced some dispiriting defeats too, there is evidently a template, based on pressing opposition players, in the way Klopp wants his team to play.
After almost two years at Old Trafford, van Gaal seems as lost and confused as Marcus Rashford looked when he was played out of position on the right wing on Thursday. Even if Manchester United somehow secure Champions League football this year, the club cannot continue sleepwalking into mediocrity next season. Van Gaal must go.