Confident Man Utd ready for Liverpool test, says Ten Hag

Manchester United will go into this weekend’s Premier League clash at rivals Liverpool with confidence and are ready to battle for the three points, manager Erik ten Hag said on Friday, as they look for a first win at Anfield since 2016.

United won their first trophy since 2017 last week by beating Newcastle United in the League Cup final. They have also reached the FA Cup quarter-finals and Europa League last 16.

In the Premier League, United are third on 49 points after 24 games, having lost just one of their last 11 matches. Sixth-placed Liverpool are 10 points behind them in the standings.

“I’m looking forward (to it), I know the ambience, the atmosphere will be great. It will be hostile against us, and we like it,” Ten Hag told reporters.

“It is, of course, a test. But we’re facing Liverpool and we’re really looking forward (to it). I know these players, my squad, my team will be prepared to go and fight, to go with confidence but we know it’s going to be difficult.

“We know we have to suffer, we have to sacrifice to get a good result.”

Liverpool and Manchester City have dominated the Premier League for the past few seasons, but pacesetters Arsenal and third-placed United are threatening to break that duopoly.

However, when asked if Liverpool and City’s hold over the league was under threat, Ten Hag said, “No. We are still in the season now.

“It’s always a pattern, never does it always go so consistently in a way like this (points upwards),” the Dutchman added.

“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.”

United go into the game off the back of a midweek comeback win over West Ham United in the FA Cup fifth round in which they scored all three of their goals in the second half.

Following the 3-1 victory, captain Harry Maguire said Ten Hag had delivered a stern halftime team talk to the players.

“What I say was we are not playing (to) our standards, that is what I saw in the first half,” Ten Hag said.

“Every day I demand a performance and I don’t accept when it’s lower. I will criticise them and I will tell them what I expect … I think the performance in the second half was much better.”

Ten Hag said United will have Luke Shaw available after the defender missed the West Ham game, while Jadon Sancho is expected to recover from illness in time for the fixture.

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