Manchester United

Klopp hits out at Man United’s style of play

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Liverpool host Manchester United this Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Premier League leaders welcome their bitter rivals to Anfield.

This will be feisty, on and off the pitch, as United hope to put a spanner in the works of Liverpool’s procession towards the 2019-20 Premier League title.

These comments from Jurgen Klopp about Man United’s counter-attacking style of play could spice things up in the dugout too.

“It’s strange when you play against a high, high quality team as United still are, and they play the way they play,” Klopp said. “It makes life really difficult. We had it with Tottenham. That’s not normal, how can you expect that? On the other side the counter attacks are of the highest level in the world.

“I don’t say they only counter attack but it’s a main thing they do. People may want to see that as criticism, it’s not, but it’s just a description of the situation that makes life for us more difficult.”

With Liverpool 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, now is a good time for Klopp to tell other teams how they should be playing. That is what he is doing here.

Liverpool’s style is absorbing and easy on the eye. Their high-pressing and speedy attack sees them swarm over teams and totally involve their fans and it is fun to watch. Man United this weekend, and Spurs last weekend, know they can’t match Liverpool’s well-oiled, blood and thunder machine so they sit back and counter. And that can be almost as exciting when it’s right.

Can you blame opposing teams for playing this way against Liverpool? No. But what Klopp is trying to do here is suggest that the quality of players United and Spurs possess means they should be more ambitious and on the front foot rather than playing on the counter. What a rascal.

Klopp isn’t quite stirring things up but from a position of strength he is lending his view on the tactics of other teams and what he would do if he was in charge of them.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t change his plan against Liverpool. Everybody wants to play like Liverpool but Man United have a different style and that worked well to nullify Liverpool’s threat in their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford earlier this season. With Marcus Rashford a major doubt that will be tough to replicate on Sunday but as Klopp’s Liverpool go all out for the win, United will happy to sit back and counter.

Ashley Young leaves Man United to join Inter Milan

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Ashley Young is officially an Inter Milan player.

[ MORE: Report: Bruno Fernandes to Man United after Lisbon Derby ]

The 34-year-old former Manchester United captain completed what is believed to be a $1.6-million transfer to the Serie A side on Friday, bringing to an end his eight-and-a-half-year stay at Old Trafford. Young’s contract with Inter is for an initial six months with an option to extend the deal for the 2020-21 season.

According to various reports, Man United will receive an additional payment from Inter should they dethrone Juventus and win the Serie A title this season.

[ MORE: Man United triggers Eric Bailly contract extension ]

Following Young’s departure, Harry Maguire has been named the Red Devils’ new captain. The 26-year-old England international joined United in the summer and has quickly established himself as the first name on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s team sheet.

Manchester United triggers Bailly contract extension

Manchester United triggers Bailly contract extension
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Manchester United has picked up a two-year option on Eric Bailly‘s contract, according to Sky Sports.

The Red Devils now have the giant 25-year-old center back under wraps through the 2021/22 season.

Bailly is nearing full fitness after his latest injury setback, knee and ankle injuries costing him dozens of matches since arriving from Villarreal in 2016. He underwent knee surgery in late July.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

There’s little reason for United not to pick up the option, as Bailly could’ve left for free in the summer and the extension allows for a possible transfer fee.

That said, Bailly has been very good with healthy and in-form, especially in an exceptional debut season at Old Trafford. He has 34 caps for the Ivory Coast, and is nearing the prime age for a center back.

United visits Liverpool at 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday, and Bailly is not expected to play.

The center back may get a chance to get to know Bruno Fernandes, who is being tipped for a $77 million transfer. He likely won’t see Ashley Young, who’s arrived in Milan ahead of a transfer to Inter.

Report: Bruno Fernandes to Manchester United after Lisbon Derby

Manchester United lands Bruno Fernandes
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Bruno Fernandes may get his move.

The 25-year-old Sporting Lisbon midfielder wants a move to Manchester United, and Sky Sports is reporting that the two clubs are close to agreeing on a fee.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

The move will cost $56 million and could escalate to $77 million with incentives, and that it could happen as soon as the end of Friday’s derby between Sporting and Benfica.

From Sky Sports:

Part of the negotiations over a deal for Fernandes included Manchester United not wanting him to play in Friday’s game but the player and Sporting insist that he was going to play in order to say a proper goodbye to the club and the supporters.

United will be crossing its fingers over Fernandes’ health during the 4:15 p.m. ET kickoff is Lisbon.

Sporting is already 12 points off the Champions League places, and 16 off Benfica’s title pace.

Fernandes has been red hot for Sporting, notching 15 goals and 13 assists in 25 appearances, including five and three in five Europa League outings.

He scored 32 times with 18 assists in 2018/19, and could take United’s Top Four push to a whole new level.

Solskjaer: Man Utd star Rashford “probably” misses Liverpool clash

Marcus Rashford Injury update
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The good news for Manchester United supporters is that Marcus Rashford‘s back injury doesn’t seem a long-term worry.

That doesn’t help them much if he cannot go Sunday versus Liverpool, and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer thinks Rashford is a likely absence.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Rashford limped off the field in United’s FA Cup defeat of Wolves, as Solskjaer said playing the well-used forward “backfired.”

There’s a chance Rashford can go Sunday, but Solskjaer won’t hold his breath.

From The Manchester Evening News:

“I can’t tell you now,” Solskjaer said. “As I said with Harry [Maguire] a few weeks ago, of course we’re going to give him the absolute amount of time to find out. We’ll do some more checks and treatment with him today, yesterday, of course, was just a recovery day and some treatment for him. I’ve not seen him this morning. I’m not going to hold my breath. I would probably think he wouldn’t be ready but let’s see. it’s 48 hours [away], more than that, so let’s see.”

Rashford made sub appearances in both FA Cup dates with Wolves, but started eight other matches in the last 34 days. He went 90 minutes in five of those outings.

The 22-year-old forward has 19 goals and five assists in 31 matches this season, and would be key to any United hopes of ending Liverpool’s unbeaten season this weekend.