The prolific Neil Mellor took his tally to five goals in seven for the reserves this season but it was the only positive in a poor Reds display as Liverpool were hammered 5-2 by Manchester United. Mellor was the only shining light in a really poor display as Manchester United took Liverpool apart at Altrincham FC's Moss Lane. He scored twice and was unlucky not to net a hat-trick with a diving header that went inches wide. By all accounts he has a good chance of featuring for the first team in next Tuesday's Carling Cup match at Millwall. Hughie McAuley was disappointed with his team after the match and felt they were not at the races defensively and goalkeeper Patrice Luzi had a very poor match. The fifth goal summed the night up for Liverpool when Luzi let in a tame 25-yard effort from United substitute Colin Heath that went straight through his hands and into the net. McAuley told Liverpoolfc.tv: "It was a disappointing night for us and defensively it wasn't good enough. Patrice Luzi will not be happy with himself and the fifth goal." Both teams had young line-ups with Scottish international Darren Fletcher the best known in the United line-up. Hughie McAuley welcomed back captain John Welsh after injury but Richie Partridge was still missing after a reacurrence of a knee problem. Liverpool had the first chance of the night after two minutes when Mellor found space just outside the United penalty area and curled a shot wide. United then missed a great chance after nine minutes when the unmarked Italian national Giuseppe Rossi headed over the bar, however the pressure finally told with their opening goal in the 19th minute. It was certainly a goal to savour as far as United are concerned when Kieran Richardson scored a sensational solo goal. Zak Whitbread gave the ball away cheaply and when the ball came to Richardson on the left flank the winger cut inside and unleashed a superb drive that flew into the top corner of the net. Two minutes later it was 2-0. With the Liverpool defence suspect again right back Phil Picken stormed past Whitbread down the right and from his low cross Sylvan Ebanks-Blake chested home on the goal line. Mellor pulled a goal back for Liverpool after 25 minutes when a deflected effort fell to him and he made no mistake with a cool finish. The problem was for Liverpool every time they entered the Reds half they looked like scoring. Rossi shot inches wide before Richardson made it 3-1 with his second goal of the evening after 29 minutes. With the Liverpool defence at sixes and sevens, they backed off and backed off and the ball was played into Richardson's path who finished superbly with a low drive into the corner of the net. It could have been 5-1 or 6-1 before half time when Blake fired just wide and Fletcher saw a speculative long range drive go just over the bar. Liverpool's passing at times was poor and Mellor was left isolated up front with no support, but it was to his credit that he worked hard and his hold up play was good. Mark Smyth also worked hard but like Mellor received no service. The second half started exactly as the first half had ended with United scoring again. A reckless challenge from Academy defender Danny O'Donnell gave away a free-kick and Chris Eagles found the net from 30-yards out with a magnificent effort for 4-1. Richardson went close to a hat-trick just past the hour when he shot into the side netting before Liverpool got another goal thanks to Mellor in the 72nd minute. The striker had already gone close with an effort that cleared the bar before he won a penalty. He was alert to get on the end of a loose ball and went around goalkeeper Tom Heaton who brought him down and a penalty was given. The keeper received a yellow card and Mellor took the kick himself sending Heaton the wrong way to make it 4-2. It's now five goals in seven reserve games for the striker and that isn't bad when youconsider he suffered a setback when he was injured pre-season and out for six weeks. Five minutes later Mellor came so close to a deserved hat-trick when his diving header landed just wide after a great cross from John Welsh. In the final minute Colin Heath made it 5-2 after a terrible error from Patrice Luzi when he allowed a weak shot to slip through his hands and into the net. In stoppage time Liverpool could have scored again when Mellor did superbly down the right and produced a low cross which went across the face of the goal with Smyth unable to get a touch. Overall it was a disappointing night and defensively Liverpool were way below the level of what is expected. Manchester United Reserves: Heaton, Picken, Lawrence, Pique, Spector, Fletcher, Eagles (Heath 79), Jones, Ebanks-Blake, Rossi, Richardson (Poole 79). Liverpool Reserves: Luzi, Peltier (James Smith 66), Whitbread, Raven, O'Donnell, Potter, Mannix (Wilkie 68), Welsh, Mellor, Smyth, Foy. Subs unused: Harrison, Guthrie, Danny Smith. Referee: P Bramley.