Manchester United have arrived in Liverpool ahead of their pivotal Premier League fixture with Everton on Sunday.
United are already guaranteed to end the season trophyless and are sixth in the table but could temporarily rise up to fourth if they win at Goodison Park. Manchester City’s defeat of Tottenham on Saturday means United will draw level on points with Mauricio Pochettino’s side should they beat Everton. Fourth-place Arsenal host Crystal Palace after Everton’s and United’s encounter and Chelsea, fifth, entertain Burnley on Monday night.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had such a vast squad to choose from prolific teenage striker Mason Greenwood was permitted to play in the Under-18s’ Saturday lunchtime win at Derby, where the 17-year-old scored twice. Photographers whom witnessed United’s arrival on Merseyside cautioned a couple of players were unidentifiable as they disembarked the team coach at United’s pre-match hotel.
United are winless away from home since the Champions League round-of-16 comeback at Paris Saint-Germain on March 6. That was United’s eighth successive away win but they have lost their last four on the road.
Solskjaer said on the eve of the game some players need a ‘reality check’ amid a loss of form. Anthony Martial has only scored twice since he committed to a new five-year contract at the end of January and Solskjaer was asked specifically about the Frenchman.
“I’ve learnt a lot about them over the months I’ve been here now,” Solskjaer said of the United players. “And you get to know them. Most of them – I have to say – have really impressed in their attitude and there’s some that need to get a reality check of where they’re at but most of these know that they can improve if they keep working as they do.
“I’ve spoken to individuals and they know and Anthony is one I’ve spoken to. I’ve spoken to them all individually, what we expect from them. Anthony’s got a massive talent, he signed a new contract, he knows we believe in him, so just keep on working.”
When it was suggested Martial was below the level of Liverpool attackers Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, Solskjaer bristled.
“You’re mentioning three Liverpool forwards?” Solskjaer replied. “I think anyone that plays for Man United has to deliver, to stay in the squad and stay in the team. And Anthony is no different to Rashy or Rom or Alexis or the many forwards that we have to choose from.