Clock ticking for Solskjaer

The scoring ended at five but had it reached double figures no-one inside Old Trafford would have been surprised. 'Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack,' sang the Liverpool supporters mocking the much-loved United chant that found such clarity during the Sir Alex Ferguson years as his ruthless Red Devils would sweep all before them.

Television close ups of the legendary former United manager interspersed the action, and showed Ferguson cringing as he surveyed the car wreckage before him.

Sacking Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be a fait accompli for the United board after their defeat yesterday. Supporters were streaming for the exits by half-time, two players could justifiably have been sent off – Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes for various misdemeanours – and one was, Paul Pogba for a horrific challenge on Naby Keita, as Solskjaer's side capitulated utterly for the second weekend in succession. When the lens focused on him and his assistants as the game entered the final stages, they were motionless, bereft. Nevertheless, the Norwegian is likely to be given more time after a spend of £120m during the summer.

What made this result worse was the make-up of Jurgen Klopp's starting team. Before kick-off there was general surprise at those selected. Words such as 'rotation' and 'midfield crisis' were used to describe those lining-up in white.

Yet, by half-time, the game was sewn up by the German's side. Had Bruno Fernandes, once United's talisman but a player who has suffered more than most since the arrival of Ronaldo, was fed by his compatriot early on, he blazed wide. Seconds later the ball was in United's net for a similar position but Keita was composed and side-footed past David de Gea. Soon after it was 2-0 when Jota, a forward who constantly seems at war with Ronaldo, when he plays for Portugal added the second. The bleeding had only started. Mo Salah hit a hat trick to add further belief to his claim on the title of world's best on current form.

Defeat by Liverpool cannot be blamed on Ronaldo, a man who has spent most of his career vying for that title, of course. United's dysfunction runs much deeper than that. Defensively they were a shambles. Harry Maguire is a mainstay of it, after all. Of all Solskjaer's aberrations during his tenure at United, signing the incredibly overrated centre-back has got to be his worst. But there were plenty more errors on show here. The clock is ticking.

Magic trick or act of self-harm?

There was much backslapping for Claudio Ranieri and even a joke about Watford winning the league on Sky Sports Saturday following their 5-2, come-from-behind victory over Everton at Goodison Park. Some context is required, however. Yes, it was a markedly different Watford from the team that capitulated at home to Liverpool last weekend but The Great Ranieri is enough of a wizard to perform that kind of turnaround in seven days – unless he is a dab hand at conjuring up spells that hypnotise defenders, of course.

That surely is the only explanation for the drunken stupor that seemed to envelop Rafa Benitez's side for whom midfielder Tom Davies was at fault for two of Watford's, Ben Godrey another and a collection of individuals for a fourth. It was the kind of abject showing that has already deeply unpopular managers particularly jumpy every time there is a call from the owner's mobile phone.

What the Farke?

How to rate Chelsea's performance against Norwich. It seems churlish to underplay a display in which any side scores seven goals but, as dominant as Thomas Tuchel's side were, their thumping of Saturday's visitors to Stamford Bridge was as much about Norwich's shortcomings as anything else.

Daniel Farke, the Norwich manager, said it wasn't a season-defining result and pointed out that it was always going to be a difficult task facing an in-form Chelsea but that was to let his players off lightly – in public anyway. In private, he will surely have been seething at the lack of effort from some – (Josh Sargent anyone?) especially those who jogged back into defensive positions and in some instances gave up altogether on helping out Norwich's beleaguered back four long before Chelsea added their fourth of the afternoon.

Credit though to Tim Krul, the goalkeeper, who maintained his standards throughout and, indeed, spared Norwich from an even bigger doing.

Can someone from PGMOL please explain?

It wouldn't be a Premier League weekend if there wasn't a gripe about poor refereeing decisions. Take a look at Roman Saiss's tackle on Raphinha in the game between Leeds United and Wolverhampton Wanderers try to come up with a credible reason why the Wolves defender remained on the pitch for a high, out-of-control tackle on the Brazilian. The chances are you won't be able to. Granted, there are incorrect decisions every week in English football – all of Europe actually – but officials elsewhere don't earn the circa £200,000 that the top referees in England do. It is no surprise that they no longer get the top gigs on the continent – let's not forget that they did not have a single representative at World Cup 2018 and while there were two referees at Euro 2020 only one participated in a solitary game past the last-16. Externally, they are subject to all kinds of criticism on social media but they operate in the echo chamber of the Professional Games Match Officials Limited – a body that rarely breaks cover to talk about standards or apparently to hold any of its members to account.

Chopping the head off a hydra

The noise over the Newcastle United takeover is still at Yemeni cluster bomb levels. No-one expected the furore over the Saudi-led purchase to die down quickly and Crystal Palace supporters became the latest group to express their opposition to the PIF deal by unfurling a banner at Selhurst Park depicting a man in traditional Saudi dress readying himself to decapitate a magpie – an act that was being investigated by Croydon police on Saturday night. Meanwhile, reports suggest that Ajax director of football Marc Overmars – a man with significant pull on the continent – has been lined-up as director of football amid claims that numerous Premier League clubs have called on each other to refuse to do transfer dealings with Newcastle. On top of that, there is already a temporary suspension on the club striking deals in oil-rich Saudi with focus also turning towards Manchester City. If the Premier League's executive board thought it had a headache with City, it has just doubled the dose in agreeing to allow the Newcastle buyout to go through.