Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are prepared to “suffer” and “sacrifice” at a hostile Anfield as they seek a win against Liverpool that would keep them on the fringes of the Premier League title race.
Victory on Sunday would keep alive United’s slim hopes of catching leaders Arsenal while defeat would bolster Liverpool’s hopes of a late push for the top four.
“I’m looking forward to it, the ambience, the atmosphere,” said Ten Hag, fresh from winning the League Cup last weekend to end the club’s six-year trophy drought.
“It will be great, it will be hostile against us, but we like that.
“I know these players, my squad, my team, will be prepared to go there and fight and to go there with confidence. We know it’s going to be difficult, we know we will have to suffer and we will have to sacrifice to get a good result.”
Ten Hag’s third-placed team are still chasing four trophies in his first season at Old Trafford, while Liverpool, who fell agonisingly short of an unprecedented quadruple last season, have struggled.
Jurgen Klopp’s men have, though, been in form in recent weeks, winning three of their past four league games, leaving them 10 points behind United and six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
Ten Hag was reluctant to read too much into the switch in fortunes of the two clubs.
“We are still in the season now,” he said. “It’s always a pattern, never does it always go so consistently.
“It’s fluid and I am sure Liverpool have really good management, a really good playing philosophy and a really good strategy. We are aware of that but we are not talking about other clubs.
“We are talking about us and I think we are in a good direction and with our philosophy, strategy and culture, we have to keep making progress. It’s all about that.”
United’s away form against their rivals has been one black mark in a fine season, with defeats against City and Arsenal.
But the United boss sees no reason why they cannot win at a raucous Anfield this weekend and complete a league double over Liverpool this season.
“We have to play and to make it our game,” said the Dutchman.
“Of course we know the ambience will not be supporting us and you have to deal with that. But our players, they like it. They like to play in such atmospheres.”
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