Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United weren’t to blame for last weekend’s bore draw at Anfield as they prepare to face Liverpool again in the FA Cup at Old Trafford on Sunday.
United were criticised for being too cautious against a struggling Liverpool who had midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho playing as makeshift centre-backs.
United were more adventurous in the second half of a goalless stalemate, creating late chances for Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, but were unable to break down a Liverpool side that surrendered it’s 68-game unbeaten run at home in the league to Burnley four days later.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rejected the notion his side were not attacking enough at Liverpool
‘We didn’t go out there to drop deep and try to soak up the pressure,’ said Solskjaer. ‘We attacked every time we got the ball, maybe too much.
‘We kept giving it away, that was the challenge. We went forward too quickly. The thought that we weren’t attacking, for me I don’t understand that one.
‘It’s the quality of what we did, we need to do better. We tried to press them high. It’s not easy, they played well, they played their way out of our press. They had five midfielders out there to play out plus a ‘keeper who is very capable.
‘When you look back at it, I think it was a good game by the two teams. We played against a top Liverpool team.
Paul Pogba missed arguably the best chance of the game as he was denied by Alisson late on
‘Yeah, (Virgil) Van Dijk is not there but everyone’s got an injury or two here or there. I was very pleased with the performance when I looked at it after.’
Marcus Rashford, in particular, was caught offside on a number of occasions and Solskjaer hopes United will be more intelligent in their attacking play when the two old rivals meet again in Sunday’s fourth round tie.
‘It’s not that you have to attack quickly every time, it’s a decision you’ve got to make there and then,’ he added.
‘Of course, it’s in our DNA that if you see a pass, do it. Do it well. I didn’t think we executed the passes well enough. Some of the runs were maybe too eager, especially at Anfield. I felt one or two times there we could have been one-on-one with the keeper.
The Frenchman showed his frustration by beating the Anfield turf after missing the chance
Solskjaer admitted he hopes for a more intelligent attacking display at Old Trafford on Sunday
‘For us, it’s about fine-tuning. We do loads of work but it’s about taking a moment in the game and I feel we’re getting there.’
Solskjaer confirmed that Victor Lindelof will return in central defence after resting his troublesome back in midweek when United won 2-1 at Fulham to stay top of the table, and there are likely to be more changes.
‘Yeah, we’ll rotate, that’s for sure,’ said the United manager. ‘We’ll put a decent team together, a team I feel can win the game. The focus is now on the FA Cup. We know it’s a difficult tie.’
The United boss confirmed that Victor Lindelof will return, and more changes are also likely