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15 Jan, 2021 19:47

‘A long way to go’: Klopp and Solskjaer both focused on victory as Liverpool and Manchester United prepare for epic clash

‘A long way to go’: Klopp and Solskjaer both focused on victory as Liverpool and Manchester United prepare for epic clash

Rival bosses Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Jurgen Klopp are both avoiding talk of title race ramifications as they prepare their respective sides for a titanic Premier League clash at Anfield on Sunday.

Manchester United manager Solskjaer has quietly gone about his business and, despite fan criticisms of his management, individual players and the way the club has been run at board level, the Norwegian has been able to slowly turn the tide at the Old Trafford club.

Now they sit at the top of the Premier League table, having started the New Year as the league leaders for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson's side won the Scot's final title in charge back in 2013.

However, with just 17 games played, Solskjaer isn't getting carried away with his team's early-season success.

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"You don't get anything for being at the top of the league in January - it's not ever something we have valued," he said.

"It's where you end up at the end of the season that matters.

"You are always excited when you are going to play against teams of that quality.

"Form goes out of the window and it doesn't matter. When you go to Anfield, it's a big game for the club, the players and the fans. I'm looking forward to it."

Despite United's lofty position, Solskjaer knows that Liverpool have not lost a home game in the Premier League since April 2017, and for that reason he puts his team in the role of underdogs ahead of the Anfield trip.

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"Being where we are in the league just gives us more confidence and it's a sign of where we are at," he said.

"The game against the champions, who have an amazing record at Anfield, is a great test for us.

"Can we go there and cause an upset? We are the challengers and they have earned the right to be champions.

"We want something they have. If you look at the results in the last few seasons, it [victory] would be an upset."

Meanwhile, Liverpool boss Klopp isn't reading too much into Sunday's clash with regard to the overall title race. The 2019-20 champions won the league at a canter, but this season's title battle looks wide open.

Telling reporters there was still "a long way to go" in the title race, Klopp said his focus is fixed simply on getting the win against Liverpool's longtime rivals.

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"Winning a football game, winning against United, is enough in itself. It's not necessary that there's a special element that we have a home game and we want to win," he said.

"There's no extra add-on in the game because they are in the situation they are. They deserve the points they have so far and we have ours.

"Manchester City are one game behind and they're very close as well. We don't constantly think about other teams. We just try and win football games and United are good. They always were."

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