Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he’s found ‘a nice way of playing’ against Liverpool but it won’t work at Anfield.
“Of course it’s hard,” Solskjaer said, per the Manchester Evening News. “But I’ve had Liverpool here [Old Trafford] twice and we’ve drawn both. You want to win those games but we’ve found a nice way of playing against them and deserved the points in both of them.”
So that’s ‘a nice way of playing’ that secured two home draws against Liverpool. Games in which Liverpool dominated possession and had more shots both times. Not exactly a foundation of great confidence, is it?
Regardless, of previous results, looking into that way of playing should given Liverpool confidence, if anything. For Manchester United look set to arrive at Anfield with the plan of killing the game and making it very difficult for the Reds.
They’ll drop deep, stay as compact as possible and hope to steal a goal or two on the break. If that sounds familiar, it’s because that’s how every team that comes to Anfield plays. It’s less that United have ‘found’ a method as much as they’re the only ones who got away with it.
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It’s even how Tottenham Hotspur played last week when Liverpool went there. As we’ve said, it isn’t a tactical puzzle for Jurgen Klopp.
United need to do something different at Anfield. They can’t rely on a plan that ‘works’ at Old Trafford – but again, two home draws doesn’t sound like it’s working – and then believe they’ll get the same results away at Liverpool.
The pressure is different, the pitch is different, and there’s the fact that Liverpool have had the week off and United haven’t. Liverpool also win at home as a routine – it’s a long, long time since they didn’t. It’s simply not the same game as the ones Solskjaer harks back to.
This will be far more difficult and it should only encourage Liverpool that he has this misplaced confidence. If Solskjaer really believes he can turn up and play the same way at Anfield, he’s in for a surprise.