Man United beat AS Roma 6-2 in the Europa League on Thursday and just three days later they take on Liverpool in the Premier League.
English sides dread playing in the Europa League since they have very little time to recover in between the weekend games. And this exhaustion could play a vital role in how Man United shape up and play on Sunday, according to the pundits and experts.
Jurgen Klopp though has a totally different view to it as the Liverpool manager thinks Man United have turned into a well-oiled machine by playing this Thursday-Sunday format over the course of this season so fatigue will not be an issue for the Old Trafford outfit.
The manager said in his press conference: “It’s completely different, it’s different to our situation now. When you play on Thursday and Sunday again, yes, United has got used to that during the season but that doesn’t make it better.
“It’s really a tough challenge, definitely, for them. Today they obviously recover, tomorrow they have second-day recovery and on the next day they play again, so there’s not a lot you can really do in training to change things or whatever. But I don’t think United anyway wanted to change a lot. I think like 75 per cent of the team is the same team playing most of the games – last line, midfield pretty much [is] Fred, McTominay, maybe Matic comes in and then the four up front, Fernandes is playing pretty much all games and the other three he can change from time to time.
“So is it Rashford up front or Greenwood up front, is it James on the wing or Greenwood on the wing, is Rashford on the wing, or Pogba on the wing? Obviously Pogba played obviously again a really good game last night. So who we will face is pretty clear. That they cannot make massive changes and probably will not make if they had no injuries last night, I think that’s clear.
“It’s tough but, how I said, we had in the last years as well always late in the season these kind of fixtures – playing Wednesday Champions League and then on Saturday the Premier League. We had to win all the games and we tried to do that.
“Most of the time it worked out for us. So it’s just a fight, to fight yourself – but they know that themselves as well and we have to fight as well. Especially if you play Tuesday and Saturday, that’s absolutely no problem. Or Thursday and you would play Monday, that’s absolutely no problem. Thursday-Sunday is a challenge but, how I said, they had a lot of good results after being on international duty during the week.
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“They will be fine, I’m afraid.”
Man United have more or less secured a second-place finish in the Premier League so this Sunday’s game holds no real value for them. But since they have already scored six goals past AS Roma in the first leg, Solskjaer will not shy away from naming his best line-up against Liverpool.
While the United boss does have the luxury to change things – if he wants to, but Jurgen Klopp has very few options(with so many injuries) so the Liverpool boss will name a side very much identical to the one which drew vs Newcastle United.
When things are not working well, it’s always good to shuffle things up a bit but Klopp does not have that comfort on Sunday. So exhaustion and a creative block might actually be an issue for the visiting side.