Liverpool travel to Manchester United on Sunday facing the toughest assignment of their Premier League run-in on paper as Tottenham seek to sneak back into the heart of the title race.
The trip to Old Trafford is effectively Jurgen Klopp’s team’s game in hand as they bid to open up a three-point lead over Manchester City, who play Chelsea in the League Cup final on the same day. Liverpool thumped United 3-1 at Anfield in the last match of Jose Mourinho’s reign on December but they are transformed under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and are back in the top four.
Liverpool know that a win at Old Trafford – where they have won just twice in the league since 2004 – would be a huge statement of intent as they hunt their first English top-flight title since 1990. Klopp’s men are 14 points clear of United but they will be facing a different team from the one they demolished in December, courtesy of a goal from Sadio Mane and two from Xherdan Shaqiri.
“Since the new manager came in there is a new fl ow, they played good games and have won a lot and that is building confi dence in the team,” said Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. “It’s also a home game for them so they will have a lot of confidence as they don’t have the problems they had before.”
Solskjaer has lifted his side into the Champions League places and knows any chance he has of becoming the next permanent manager probably hinges on staying there. But defender Luke Shaw says the interim boss, known for his sunny demeanor, is capable of showing some steel.
“You know, Ole does it at the right time (shows another side),”
“He knows how good we can be and, if we’re not up to his standards or the standards of Manchester United, he will certainly let you know.
“We’ve had a few moments like that where we might have been comfortable in a game but got a bit sloppy. He’s the manager and he tells the players what he wants.