LONDON, United Kingdom, Jan 15 – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists Manchester United are underdogs as the Premier League leaders target an “upset” win against champions Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.
United moved three points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s men after their 1-0 win at Burnley on Tuesday.
It is the first time United have been top of the English top-flight so far into the season since the 2012/13 campaign, when they were last crowned champions.
But United boss Solskjaer tried to put the pressure on Liverpool by claiming his team’s lofty position does not make them favourites.
“The next one is always the biggest, it’s always the most important,” said the United manager.
“Being, of course, where we are in the league, that just gives us more confidence and it’s an indication of where we’re at.
“But the game against the champions, they’ve got an amazing record at Anfield in the league. They haven’t lost for many, many years so of course it’s a great test for us. Can we go there and cause an upset?”
Asked if United beating Liverpool would really be an upset, the Norwegian said: “If you look at the last few seasons, I think it would be an upset and it would be a shock.
“Our position at the moment is a product of all the hard work that we’ve done in the training ground and what the players are putting down every single day.
“We probably deserve to be where we are at the moment, but I don’t think many would have thought another word for it than an ‘upset’ if you go six weeks back (and asked) if we beat Liverpool at Anfield.
“But we’re looking forward to the game and hopefully we can cause that upset.”
Solskjaer is yet to win against Liverpool as United boss after three failed attempts so far.
– ‘Reality check’ –
United faces the tough task of becoming the first visiting side to win a Premier League match at Anfield since April 2017.
“I think every team goes into every game thinking that they can win it,” he said.
“We know that we can beat anyone anywhere on any given day, so to go into a game like this feeling that if we play to our best we can win is a good feeling.
“But we know we have to perform to our best and we don’t really think consequences after that. We just think about the performance.”
United’s surge to the top of the table has come after a rocky start to the season put Solskjaer under severe pressure.
There was talk he could be sacked after United crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages and the Norwegian admits his side are still to deliver their best on a consistent basis.
“It’s a test and reality check of where we’re really at because we’ve won many, many tight games, scored a few goals in injury time, showed that mentality,” he said.
“We’ve not really set the world alight too many times and to win away at Anfield you really need to be at your best level.”
Liverpool are winless in three Premier League games, while United have won nine matches during their current 11-game unbeaten league run.
“Form goes out the window when you play your rivals but our form gives us confidence so we’re confident going into the game,” Solskjaer said.