Manchester United vs Liverpool: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Anfield clash can be 'reality check' for his side

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United’s top-of-the-table clash with Liverpool this weekend is an opportunity for his side to test whether they are genuine title challengers.

United’s 1-0 win at Burnley on Tuesday moved them three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Premier League – the first time they have been top at this stage of the campaign since 2012/13, when they won the title in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season.

Their rise has come on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run stretching back to the beginning of November, but Solskjaer believes his side will face one of the “great challenges” when they travel to Anfield on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

Liverpool are the reigning champions and have not lost at home in the league since a 2-1 defeat to Crystal Palace in April 2017, while Solskjaer has not won at Anfield since starting for United in a 2-1 win in December 2002.

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Liverpool
Manchester United


The United boss said: “Every team goes into every game thinking they can win it. We know that we can beat anyone, anywhere on any given day. So to be able to go into a game like this, feeling if we play to our best that we can win, is a good feeling.

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“It’s a test and reality check for where we are really at because Liverpool at Anfield is one of the great challenges. We have won many, many tight games, scored a few goals in injury time.

“We have not really set the world alight too many times. To win away at Anfield you really need to be at your best level.

“I would rather be on top and have the points than chasing. But we are the challengers, we are the hunters chasing the champions. It’s over the course of a long season and they’re the ones that everyone would like to beat.

“They have been incredible at home, so we need that extra edge. We have to be humble and fight for every single inch on that pitch. Any little detail can decide one of these games.

“We’ve definitely not thought that we’re at the top and everyone is there to chase us.”

Although United are currently top of the Premier League, they have an underwhelming recent record against Liverpool, having only beaten their rivals once in their last 10 meetings.

While Solskjaer says United are boosted by their strong form, he believes winning at Anfield would still constitute an upset for his side.

“Form goes out the window when you play your rivals, but our form gives us confidence going into the game,” he said.

“If you look at the last few seasons, I think it would be an upset, it would be a shock.

“I think our position at the moment is a product of all the hard work that we’ve done. We probably deserve to be where we’re at at the moment. We’re looking forward to the game and hopefully we can cause an upset.”

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Carra: Shockwaves if Man Utd win at Anfield

Manchester United can send shockwaves around the Premier League with a victory at Anfield so it is imperative Liverpool show exactly why they are champions, says Jamie Carragher.

A first Anfield victory exactly five years to the day since their last – live on Sky Sports – will see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Premier League leaders open up a six-point gap between themselves and the champions, strengthening belief they can clinch their first league title since 2013.

Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Carragher believes the champions must prove they are the better team with a performance that puts United back in their place before their title challenge gathers pace.

“I actually think it’s a bigger game for Liverpool,” Carragher said. “The onus is more on them.

“If United got a result there, that’s when the belief would come that they could win the league. I still think people think United may fall away and Liverpool have still got that edge, but if they won at Anfield that would send shockwaves through the Premier League.

“It’s a game where Liverpool need to show they are the champions, they are the better team, get the result and also a performance that puts Manchester United back where they are.”

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