Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United welcome a rampant Liverpool to Old Trafford this weekend and the Norwegian has good reason to be wary if history is anything to go by
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself on Sunday.
United completed a thrilling 3-2 Champions League comeback against Atalanta on Wednesday night courtesy of a late Cristiano Ronaldo winner to ease the pressure on the Red Devils’ boss whose position has come under question.
However, the dramatic turnaround was seen by many as papering over the cracks as a disjointed United were in disarray in the first 45 minutes, finding themselves two goals down to the injury-hit Italians at the interval.
With Solskjaer’s side winless in their last three Premier League outings and Liverpool back to the imperious best which saw them storm to the 2019 league title, the Norwegian will be hoping defeat to the Reds doesn’t lead to the same fate as his predecessor.
It was against Sunday’s opponents that Jose Mourinho experienced his final taste of life in the Manchester United hotseat back in December of 2018.
A 3-1 loss at Anfield was the final straw for the Portuguese manager following yet another disappointing United start to the season.
During his time in charge, Mourinho spent close to £400million on 11 players and was given his marching orders after the Liverpool game, with a lack of progress in results and style of play cited as key factors for the change.
After Solskjaer took his transfer outlay to £441million this summer and United having suffered a stuttering start to this season, often looking disconnected and imbalanced, the Norwegian has now found himself in the firing line of late.
While Mourinho managed to deliver one League Cup and a Europa League during his two-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, Solskjaer is yet to deliver silverware of any kind.
And now comes the ominous challenge of a resurgent Liverpool, unbeaten in 21 games in all competitions.
After scrambling past Atalanta in midweek, former United midfielder Paul Scholes was quick to issue a warning to Solskjaer’s side ahead of the weekend’s clash.
“You celebrate every win, but the first half really worried me,” Scholes told BT Sport. “People are going to say I’m miserable, and maybe I’m going to be slagged off by United fans, but I looked at that game thinking about the Liverpool game.
“That first half, United had two midfielders playing on their own and if they do that against Liverpool and City, they’ll be four down by half-time.
“People will get carried away, but will he play that way on Sunday? Go and do that on Sunday and see what happens.
“Jurgen Klopp will be rubbing his hands together.”
Having seen his side score 30 goals in their last nine away matches, including at least three in all of their last seven, Klopp will certainly be hopeful of departing Old Trafford with yet more bragging rights and perhaps even another United managerial casualty to his name.
Is the writing on the wall for Solskjaer?