IF past experience indicates anything, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will get a result against Liverpool – and there haven’t been many games when he needed one more.
Whenever the pressure has been really strong, Ole always seems to have found some strengths and he’s going to have to do it again this afternoon.
There is no doubt that Solskjaer is a lovely guy, but I don’t buy into this business that he is inviolable even though he is loved at Manchester United.
I’m not saying they’re about to get rid of him, because I don’t think they will, but I don’t think he’s bombproof because he’s a United legend either.
The same could have been said of Glenn Hoddle and Ossie Ardiles at Tottenham and it didn’t save them when the results weren’t good enough.
Frank Lampard was as great a Chelsea legend as he can get and we all know what happened to him.
So there is no sentiment in football, believe me, and the pressure is on for Ole. . . and losing to Liverpool would only make matters worse.
United are not going to win the championship, no luck, and finishing in the top four is not enough anymore.
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These fans have grown used to being better than Liverpool for long stretches of time, so a good performance today won’t be enough either. They have to at least win or not get beaten.
You look at the United squad and there are some top notch players out there, but they’re definitely missing something. Even the manager admitted it last week at Leicester.
Then Paul Pogba comes out and says things need to change and that puts even more pressure on Ole. It wasn’t doing him a favor at all.
I’ve had it in the past when players say something, but that’s usually when they’ve got the bump because they’re not on the squad or whatever.
So what was Pogba thinking, I don’t know – but when you’re already under the cosh, you really don’t need it.
Then again, sometimes you look at the sideline when United are playing and you have questions, because it always seems very calm there.
And I’ve said before how weird it is to see Ole – he’s not the only manager, be careful – go out onto the pitch, shake everyone’s hands and cheer the crowd when they’re beaten.
If you’ve been high you’ve got the right bump, you want to walk into that locker room ASAP and tell them exactly what you think.
I know Sir Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have been there to greet everyone if his team had just lost. He would be sitting there fuming, waiting for the players to come in.
It’s just another thing that’s so different these days, like when they all talk about projects and five-year plans. This is hogwash – it’s a five game plan and if you lose the sixth, you’re in trouble.
I know United made this big comeback midweek, but it was against a weakened Atalanta side and today it’s Liverpool, the team they must NOT lose to.
It’s at Old Trafford, players are going to level up for sure, and of course they can get a result. But the best teams are doing it week after week and United are not at that level.
There is no way they will win the league and I can see City and Liverpool fighting not only for the title but also in Europe.
The point is, you look at this Liverpool team and see a good team, one that is playing better than anyone at the moment.
Mo Salah is in the form of his life, you know that by his side it will be Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino or Diogo Jota.
You have Virgil van Dijk holding everything together in defense, the two full-backs don’t change, and then maybe boss Jurgen Klopp will make some adjustments in midfield.
It’s still pretty much the same, a good team, every week. And then you look at the others and you never know who is going to play.
It just seems like there is real unity about Liverpool which is why they’re going to be the team to beat – and unfortunately for Ole this afternoon I can’t see him being United.
MOYES DOES A GREAT JOB
YOU know what I said about Liverpool being a good team?
Well my old West Ham club isn’t too far behind them in that regard.
David Moyes did a really good job of managing there and there aren’t too many people who still say last season was a fluke.
They are in very, very good shape again and there will be a great atmosphere at London Stadium this afternoon when they face Tottenham.
I don’t see beyond a win at West Ham either, as David has built a very solid Hammers squad, with coverage all over the pitch.
Michail Antonio will cause problems for Tottenham, Declan Rice we know all about it, and few teams will go to Everton and win, like they did last week.
I’m thrilled for David, and in my eyes there’s absolutely no reason they can’t do as well as last season – maybe even better.
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STEVIE GA GOOD FIT
It wasn’t long before Paulo Fonseca became the man for the job for Newcastle.
But why does he always have to be a foreign manager?
There are plenty of good ones here that would be ideal. . . the likes of Eddie Howe, Frank Lampard and even Chris Wilder, whom I really like.
For me, if I were Steven Gerrard, I would consider giving it serious thought because I think he’s done all he can with the Rangers.
Remember, this is the Premier League we’re talking about, and Newcastle look like a fantastic project going forward.
Although I’m still not at all certain that he would leave Ibrox, no matter what.