This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed
Victory for United, coming into the game off the back of a 6-2 drubbing of Europa League semi-final opponents Roma in their first leg, would put Solskjaer’s side on the cusp of securing their Champions League status.
They are 12 points clear of fifth-placed West Ham heading into Sunday’s showdown at Old Trafford (4.30pm) after which there will only be four games remaining.
Liverpool head to United’s home ground, where they are winless across all competitions since April 2014, knowing anything less than victory could end their own top-four hopes.
Jurgen Klopp’s champions, soon to be dethroned by Manchester City, are down in sixth and four points adrift of fourth-placed Champions League semi-finalists Chelsea.
The Reds are 13 points behind United despite having ended up 33 points ahead of their bitter rivals in their title-winning 2019-20 campaign.
Solskjaer wants his United team consistently finishing above Liverpool once more, as they did near enough every season in the Premier League era under Sir Alex Ferguson, in order to become City’s biggest challenger.
And he provided Liverpool with a reminder of just how vital it is to have play in Europe’s premier competition, less than two weeks after both clubs were involved in the failed European Super League plot.
“I think football has turned this way or become this way,” the United manager said. “One, you fight to win the Premier League, that’s the bread and butter, the dream, that’s what everyone wants.
“But there’s almost like another trophy, second, third, fourth, because the Champions League is such a massive tournament to be in.
“You play against the best and there are loads of financial gains by being there.
“Last season when we were so far behind, our aim was to get into the top four. Sometimes top four isn’t even secure.
“Arsenal and Chelsea can still win respective tournaments this season and not be top four, so we’ve just got to make sure we are doing our job and getting into the Champions League ourselves.”
The Norwegian added of Liverpool: “We know what they’ve done the last three or four seasons. They’ve been top of the league, they’ve won the Champions League and they’ve had some amazing seasons.
“That’s the challenge for us, to have that consistency now that we’ve moved up the table and that we also challenge Manchester City.”
Three points for United would all but end Liverpool’s top-four hopes in what would be a bitter blow for the Merseyside outfit, who lost in this year’s Champions League quarter-finals to Real Madrid.
Solskjaer insists United do not need extra incentive against their arch rivals however and says that the size of the fixture in itself is ample motivation for his side to go out there and win.
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He continued: “We don’t go out there thinking about that. We’re just thinking about winning ourselves.
“Whatever that does to Liverpool cannot be of our concern. Throughout the season you have games you look forward to.
“This Liverpool game at home is one of the biggest games of the season, it doesn’t matter if we’re first or second or third or fourth. No matter what, this is a massive, massive game.”
Hinting at his team selection after the 6-2 win over Roma, Solskjaer hinted that he will go full strength against Liverpool.
He said: “We picked an experienced team to handle the setbacks. We were able to handle setbacks.
“In games against Liverpool we need experience and we need quality, we need to defend well, we need every aspect of the game because we know the quality they’ve got.”