Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed he rested Victor Lindelof for United’s 1-0 win over Burnley on Tuesday to allow the defender to ‘get ready’ for the crunch clash with Liverpool.
Eric Bailly partnered club captain Harry Maguire against Burnley and barely put a foot wrong, helping United keep a clean sheet, but Solskjaer has decided to revert to his favoured centre-back pairing of Maguire and Lindelof for the trip to Anfield.
Explaining his decision ahead of the game, Solskjaer told MUTV: “Victor has been training this week to get ready for this game, I gave him the Burnley game off.”
Solskjaer made two other changes to his starting line-up, with Fred and Scott McTominay coming back into central midfield and Nemanja Matic and Edinson Cavani dropping to the bench.
“I think we need the energy of Scott and Fred, though Nemanja and Paul were incredible last game in midfield, but this is a different game,” Solskjaer added.
“We want different options in front of them. I wanted Paul one step higher up the pitch.
“It was more of a cramp, working hard for the team for Anthony. You know when he comes off with a cramp, he was giving everything for the team. He’s ready.”
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer admitted he was “excited” ahead of the game, saying: “You’re always excited when you’re going to play against teams of that quality and calibre, of course.
“For us, form goes out the window. It doesn’t really matter if it’s first or last game. You know when you go to Anfield that it’s a big game for the club, a big game for the players, for the fans. I’m really looking forward to it. We’re in good form at the moment.
“You don’t get anything for being at the top of the league in January, so no, it’s not a ‘congratulations’, it’s not something that we’ve ever really valued. It doesn’t matter, it’s where you end up at the end of the season that matters.”