Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has explained that his team will need to use ‘every single drop of nous’ to beat Liverpool on Sunday and ‘can’t give them an inch’.
United trail Liverpool by four points in the Premier League table and a victory at Old Trafford only days after a dramatic 3-2 win over Atalanta in the Champions League would reduce that gap to just a single point. Defeat, however, would see it widen to seven.
After three Premier League game without a win, Solskjaer will be hoping that momentum in Europe can translated to the domestic scene. But there could hardly be a tougher opponent right now than Liverpool, who have scored two or more goals in nine consecutive games in all competitions.
“You can't give them chances,” Solskjaer declared as he addressed the media on Friday.
“We gave Atalanta two and they scored two. Teams are going to create chances, that's the nature of the game. [Atalanta] were clinical. So [are] Liverpool. We can't give them an inch in our box.”
Solskjaer admitted that United will need to be on their game from start to finish. He noted that Liverpool are capable of the kind of individual brilliance ‘you cannot almost defend against’.
But on how United could hope to win the game, he said, “As a team, we have to be compact, aggressive and give every single drop of nous, knowledge, strong mindset, physical energy.”
This is one of the biggest games in world football and it is only right that it features world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Mohamed Salah.
Ronaldo has scored six times in eight games since his return to United this season, including the late winner against Atalanta on Wednesday. Salah, meanwhile, has scored in nine games in a row for Liverpool and has only failed to net in one Premier League match all season.
“I'll always back Cristiano in any competition, he's unique and his goalscoring record has been fantastic but that being said Salah is at the moment on fire,” Solskjaer said.
“You see some of the goals he's scored lately, we know we have to be at our best to defend against him. Players like this don't come along very often. Got to do a good job not just against him. I'm a big admirer of the front line they've had for many years now. Mane, Firmino, maybe Jota will play, they are players you have to focus on and you have to be nailed on for 95 mins to keep a clean sheet."