Pressure on Ole to deliver
In-form Manchester United host Liverpool in a FA Cup fourth round match on Sunday even as they have two tough English Premier League matches coming up against Sheffield United (home on Thursday) and Arsenal (away on January 30).
Former England goalkeeper David James, though, thinks United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will field the strongest possible side against Liverpool.
“You know, the success of teams is trophies. Manchester United haven’t won any trophy since Ole took charge and that can put pressure on him. He is kind of a likable manager, but not winning is not going to be good enough and just qualifying for the Champions League through league position, I would argue will not be good enough for a team like Manchester United.
“I think the pressure would be more on Ole to win and use the FA Cup as their route to success. Therefore, he will play the strongest side available on Sunday.
“Also, they are the team in form, enjoying the pole position in the Premier League. So no point in disrupting the momentum by fielding a weaker side,” James told The Telegraph.
Liverpool’s form has gone south in the last few weeks, losing at home for the first time after 68 matches in Premier League and also failing to score in the last four games. “On current form, Liverpool are going to struggle to finish third, but I do believe they can overcome this stumbling block and put a challenge back. And that could start from Sunday at Old Trafford itself.
“What happens is a team in rousing form consistently for three years sometimes may find it difficult to maintain the tempo. There is a talk that the circle is complete, but I do not think so.
“Yes, there has to be a shift from what’s happening at Anfield right now. Otherwise there could be a dead end for Juergen Klopp.”
Sunday’s FA Cup clash between English football’s eternal rivals will be their second meeting inside seven days. On January 17, they had met at Anfield for a Premier League clash and it ended goalless.
When asked about his expectations from Sunday’s match, James said: “United, at present, are challenging the current order… I mean trying to end the duopoly of Liverpool and Manchester City.
“Liverpool are in the middle of a wretched form, but then you just can’t think of banging in four or five goals past them. I am expecting a tense match with a potential of a major shift. I would love to see Liverpool taking on their rivals confidently,” he signed off.
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