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Solskjaer's mind games

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Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Photo: Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has bitten back at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's claim that there is "no better time" for Manchester United to head to Anfield, and mocked the idea of the Premier League leaders being underdogs.

Solskjaer suggested after Tuesday's win at Burnley sent United top that his side were facing Liverpool at the ideal moment, despite claiming yesterday it would be a "shock" and an "upset" if they became the first team to win at Anfield in the league since April 2017.

Yet Klopp, the Liverpool manager, scoffed at his counterpart's attempts to downplay United's title credentials and responded with a menacing "let's see" after noting Solskjaer's belief that it was an opportune time to visit the champions tomorrow.

"I have been five years in England and United was never an underdog," Klopp said. "They cannot be. Always good teams, always great players, always really good managers and coaches. It was always there and now they are top of the table."

Despite suggesting the absence of fans at Anfield could be "a bit of an advantage", Solskjaer was eager to characterise United as underdogs and "hunters" in the title race, even though they are top.

"If you look at the last few seasons, I think it would be an upset and it would be a shock (if we won)," the United manager said. "Our position at the moment is a product of all the hard work we've done in the training ground and we probably deserve to be where we are.

"But I don't think many would have thought of another word for it than an upset - if you went six weeks back - if we beat Liverpool at Anfield. But we're looking forward to the game and hoping we can cause that upset."

Solskjaer had said after beating Burnley to record a ninth win in 11 league games that "we couldn't have asked for a better time to play (Liverpool) because we are in great shape and good form", but he rowed back from those remarks yesterday.

"It's a test and reality check of where we're at," said Solskjaer, who is hoping forward Anthony Martial will have recovered from a hamstring problem.

"We've won many tight games, scored a few goals in injury-time, showed that mentality. But we've not set the world alight too many times and to win at Anfield you really need to be at your best." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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