How Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may out-fox Jurgen Klopp on Sunday | Premier League 2018/19
After Manchester United’s win over Chelsea in the FA Cup on Monday night, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got lots of praise for his tactical depth, and rightly so. Now Solskjaer faces another challenge, this time in the Premier League against old rivals Liverpool.
Solskjaer is expected by the Manchester faithful to outwit Jürgen Klopp and his metallic football style. If he does that, he’ll surely be considered a serious challenger by all his rivals. Also, it will boost his chances of being confirmed as Manchester United’s full-time manager.
Against Liverpool, he’ll meet a side that has gelled well and with a class forward line that will easily unsettle him. Also, Liverpool likes to high-press, so his creative players will not be allowed much time on the ball.
The football will be quick and sometimes straight forward as Klopp will not want to take any chances and be out-foxed by the young Norwegian manager. However, take nothing away from Solskjaer, he has pulled off some tactical master classes namely against Arsenal and Chelsea recently.
This will be a game that he’d have been thoroughly prepared for and will have worked up every angle. Be sure of one thing, against Liverpool, Manchester United will go for the win. If not for the top-four, then at least to get one over their bitter rivals.
Here’s how Solskjaer may end up out-smarting Klopp in this tie.
#4 Smalling at the back
We saw against Chelsea how impressive and solid Chris Smalling can be when he gets going. In fact, before the injury that kept him out for most of December and January, he was the most consistent United central defender. If that form against Chelsea was anything to go by, Solskjaer may have just found his right centre back pairing after all, until the end of the season.
Smalling is a rugged defender who likes and enjoys winning duels. Liverpool will not get a kick in especially in the air while he’s there, he will win almost everything they throw at him.
That will compliment Victor Lindelof well as he’s more of the guy who likes to cover and defend with both his brain and his body. Smalling will try to win all the first balls into the United box and bring in some physical presence at the back. Leaving Lindelof to mop up for him and distribute the ball from the back.
And with his pace, he will not get run ragged by the Liverpool defence. Also, he’s a threat in the opposing box and if it isn’t going well for the strikers, he may come up with a goal.