Manchester United have been on an exceptional run since Jose Mourinho was sacked and Ole Gunnar Solskjær brought on as interim manager, recording eight wins and a draw in nine league games and pushing their way back into the top four.
It’s been an unlikely success story—both for a United side mired in mid-table under Mourinho and for Solskjær, whose last experience managing in England ended in disaster with Cardiff City. And it could mean an easier game for Liverpool on Sunday.
“The way they are setting up now, they’re really attacking, on the front foot, exciting to watch,” said former Red and current Sky pundit Jamie Carragher, explaining why having Solskjær in charge could help Liverpool despite United’s stellar form.
“Maybe that will give Liverpool more chance in terms of space at Old Trafford. Whenever Mourinho’s teams played against Liverpool at Old Trafford there was very little space for Mane and Salah—they’ve found it really difficult in the last couple of years.
“So maybe that might change, maybe a more open game. But Liverpool’s record is really poor at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson left, so that is something that has to change. If Liverpool could get a result there they [can] have a big week.”
After United there’s a mid-week match against Watford, then Everton on the weekend and Burnley on the following before they get back into the European action with their second leg against Bayern Munich in the Champions League Round of 16.
And their upcoming week, when they face United and Watford and Everton in just seven days, is even more important when considering that Sunday’s date with United represents their game in hand on Manchester City in the title race.
With City playing in the League Cup final this weekend, Liverpool know that a win would put the two sides back on the same matchweek moving forward—and it would be a blow to City that would see the Reds more three points into the clear.
“Manchester United is the real big one,” Carragher added. “That’s the one where Man City expect Liverpool to drop points. If they get three points there it will be a little body blow to Manchester City.”