After getting to the top of the Premier League table with three points, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is prepared for a “great test” against his team’s rivals Liverpool. In a press conference after the match, he was looking forward to Sunday’s showdown and insisting his team is well—prepared and ready. As the season unfolds, all Premier League fans are starting to speculate the results of the big games. Now both Liverpool and Manchester United followers are ready to bet on their favourite teams.
When asked at the press conference, how big is Liverpool vs. Manchester United? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer answered:
“We are looking forward to it! Of course, we enjoy being where we are (at the top of the league) at any time. If it’s the first game or the last game, it’s a big, big difference. But at the moment, we are where we are.”
“We are going there knowing that we play against the team that’s been by a mile the best in the country for the last year and a half.”
The Norwegian manager continued by praising Liverpool: “They’re champions by right, and we’re looking forward to it, and it’s a great test of where we’re at against a good team.” Fans have been speculating that Solskjaer is just trying to play mind games and confuse his rivals with his praises. Others are glad to hear him sing praises of their favourite team.
The long-awaited Liverpool vs. Manchester United will be played in front of an empty Anfield, behind closed doors. The Liverpool City Region has been into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions since December. Fans are devastated as they cannot follow this anticipated match live from the stadium. As part of the Tier Three restrictions, which come into force from 00.01 GMT on Thursday 31 December, all professional sporting events will be played behind closed doors without supporters present until further notice.
Liverpool fans have also been left gutted after claims that Joel Matip may not be able to play against Machester United. The chances that Matip misses this weekend’s match, which is the biggest game of the season for Liverpool so far, are high.
Fans have been expressing their opinions and worries on social media: “Hes not coming back, we’re not winning that game, and nothing is going our way. Imma just expect that from now,” says Twitter user @karmanoor2005.
“If you expect anything other than a loss and the Anfield record going on Sunday, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment,” adds user @thaaaakib.
Earlier this week, Klopp explained that Matip has been recovering well, and there are some chances that he will be able to face the Red Devils at Anfield coming Sunday. Liverpool will need Matip back, playing alongside Fabinho, to boost the team’s chances of victory.
Fabinho has admitted that Manchester United are title contenders, as, after their win over Burnley, they lead the Premier League. The Reds are three points ahead, and everything will be decided on this week’s thrilling clash. “They are definitely confident and enjoying a good momentum in the league. They are winning some games that perhaps they weren’t last season, such as against Wolverhampton (1-0 last month). However, our focus isn’t exclusively on Manchester United. The main thing is trying to play our football and winning games,” Fabinho explained in a video interview on Tuesday before Red’s victory over Burnley.
Fabinho added, though, that Manchester United is not the only title candidate, as Manchester City has also been in great form in recent months, as well as London teams Chelsea and Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham. “(Manchester City) are very well trained and have been doing excellent seasons in the last three Premier League campaigns.” He says in his interview. About the other title candidates, he adds, “United are another one; I have said before that Tottenham and Chelsea are strong and want to go all the way. Perhaps Chelsea is going through some ups and downs recently, but they are still a strong side. And we know that Tottenham, because of their manager and squad, is in the fight as well.”
The Brazilian player also talked about how the pandemic may have affected some of the matches. There have been so many changes inside and outside the stadium. When the situation seemed grim, due to the increase of cases amongst players, there was a slight confusion in the air on how the matches would be played. Fabinho reassures the fans that the situation has been normalised in the training grounds, and there is no need to worry. Players and all other staff are being tested frequently for the COVID-19. Fabinho was joking that he used to visit restaurants often with his teammates, but now everyone is being careful and avoiding big crowds and closed spaces. The club has placed many precautions and restrictions to guarantee everyone’s safety. Of course, the number one rule is to keep wearing masks and gloves, provided by the club, whenever they are outside of the training grounds.
Everyone is looking forward to the big match this weekend and hoping that all players will be playing their best condition.