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Solskjaer unhappy after repeat fouls on Rashford


In firing line: Marcus Rashford completed 90 minutes despite suffering an early injury after ‘quite a few fouls.’ Photo: Getty Images

In firing line: Marcus Rashford completed 90 minutes despite suffering an early injury after ‘quite a few fouls.’ Photo: Getty Images

In firing line: Marcus Rashford completed 90 minutes despite suffering an early injury after ‘quite a few fouls.’ Photo: Getty Images

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer questioned Liverpool's tactics towards Marcus Rashford as the England international suffered an ankle injury that will sideline him for the visit to Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

The Manchester United forward was one of several casualties, as Solskjaer was forced to use all three of his substitutes in the opening 43 minutes, the first time since 2015 that has happened in a Premier League game.

Rashford actually completed the full 90 minutes, although his manager admitted he should have taken him off first, before Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and substitute Jesse Lingard were all forced off through injuries.

"I think you can't say 'targeted', but you can say there were quite a few fouls on him, definitely," said Solskjaer.

"And normally I would take him off after five minutes, because whoever it was went straight through him. His ankle blew up straight away, but he wanted to run it off. And then I couldn't take him off with Juan and Jesse going off, so we're hoping he's not done too much damage."

The injury toll had started even before kick-off, with Anthony Martial and Nemanja Matic ruled out, and with the additional three players lost in the first-half - plus Rashford already rated doubtful - Solskjaer may conceivably have lost half a dozen players for midweek.

"I've never seen the like of this before, having three hamstrings in the first-half," said Solskjaer.

"Rashy was kicked in the ankle and did it straight away. We should have taken him off straight away, so we were playing with 10-and-a-half but the atmosphere made up for it, and Rashy's attitude made up for it as well.

"I think they dominated the possession, had a lot of the ball, but we had the biggest chances. I don't think it was a case of not wanting to win the game, it was a case of defending so well so they couldn't get through, but we should have won it, to be fair.

"So, I learned a lot about the players, learned a lot about Scott McTominay, who I have been waiting to give a more attacking role to - he was a Darren Fletcher for us, absolutely outstanding.

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"Andreas (Pereira), had a lot of criticism lately, but we learnt a lot about their character because that first-half wasn't good enough with the ball - I've never seen us give the ball away so much."

The mood was very different in the Liverpool camp, with Jurgen Klopp admitting a third draw in four games was a missed opportunity as his team moved only one point clear of Manchester City at the top of the table.

Striker Mo Salah was among a number of key players who failed to hit peak form and has now scored just one goal this season against a 'big six' side, in the 5-1 win over Arsenal.

"Mo knows he can play better than he did in this game, we know it," said Klopp. "Two weeks ago, we played against Bournemouth and he was the star in the sky. It is about how we use him and how we move and other stuff.

"I am already interested about what we can do to be spot-on on Wednesday (against Watford)."

However, the Liverpool manager admitted that his players did need to learn how to cope with the unfamiliar position of being genuine title contenders.

"All the talk and giving interviews every week is all new," he said. "Mo said this week 'of course there is pressure' and from my point of view it is very positive pressure.

"I don't have to play. I sit here and say dumb things and that is easy. For the boys they all have to learn in these situations. The only way we can do it is with passion.

"The heart and soul of this club is passion and on Wednesday night we have another chance, then there is a derby which is a very emotional game."

© Daily Telegraph, London

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