Most Read Football

Top 50 managers of all-time (clockwise from top left): Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Marcelo Bielsa and Rafa Benitez all included by France Football1

Top 50 football managers ever?

Ferguson second? Well-respected France Football has published a list of the top 50 managers ever. See if you agree with them here.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages2

Paper Talk: Mane on Real radar

Sadio Mane attracting Real Madrid interest, Man United target considering his future and much more in Tuesday's back page highlights.

Sir Alex Ferguson (right) watches Manchester United's Champions League last 16 clash at PSG with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward3

Fergie holding United back - Zlatan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Manchester United must forget Sir Alex Ferguson because his former success is holding the club back.

Our look at the Sky Bet Championship title race4

Week-by-week: Champ title race

With the international break giving us a moment to breathe, Tom Carnduff predicts how the Sky Bet Championship title race will pan out.

Maurizio Sarri: The Italian is under pressure after a tough run of results at Chelsea5

Sack Race: Sarri or no more exits?

Maurizio Sarri is odds-on to be the next PL boss to leave following Chelsea's latest defeat which saw their top four hopes suffer a blow.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer demands focus ahead of Liverpool showdown

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has demanded focus from his Manchester United side and refused to rule out a role for Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of Sunday's Liverpool showdown.

The eyes of the footballing world will be on Old Trafford this weekend as the home side look to continue their impressive form and derail Jurgen Klopp's Reds' title tilt.

United are going for a 12th win in 14 matches in all competitions and remain unbeaten in nine league matches, having last tasted defeat at Anfield in December - a 3-1 loss that brought the end of Jose Mourinho's reign.

Jesse Lingard, who scored the consolation goal that day, and Anthony Martial were expected to be out until the start of March with a injuries sustained in last week's Champions League defeat to Paris St Germain, but could return on Sunday.

"We're looking OK," Solskjaer said.

"I hope Jesse will be OK. More hope and think that Anthony will be OK, but we've got two more days, so they've got to get through these two sessions.

"They've not been part of it yet, but they've been doing some recovery work.

"Anthony's was a different muscle, so we think that he might be ready and hope that Jesse will."

The duo's return would be a welcome shot in the arm for a side that recovered from their first defeat under Solskjaer by comfortably triumphing 2-0 in Monday's FA Cup fifth-round match at Chelsea.

Ferguson was seen speaking to some United players after that match at Stamford Bridge and has been offered a wider audience ahead of the Liverpool match.

Asked if the mind games used by his mentor were something he bought into as a manager, Solskjaer said: "Nah. I don't think Jurgen Klopp will read what I say.

"I'm not going to read what he says, or the players say. That's further down the line I would think.

"But (Ferguson) would be welcome to have his talk to the players if he wanted to, the gaffer, because we know how much it meant for him to overtake Liverpool.

"I think our players know what it means for everyone at Man United."

Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson

There are no firm plans for Ferguson to come in but United do not need to look far for inspiration given their current boss, a 1999 treble hero, knows all about eagerly anticipated encounters with Liverpool.

"I've played in a few of these myself and I know the magnitude of it for the fans, for everyone who works here, the staff," Solskjaer said.

"There have been many comments about, 'this is the big one' and 'we're looking forward to this one'.

"Then it's our job to be focusing and channelling all that energy into performance mode. It's not about emotions.

"I understand that emotion can be brought into it, but we have to stay focused and controlled but with some fight in us as well."

That focus is something Solskjaer has maintained admirably to date, with his attention on improving players and getting them smiling working wonders.

Paul Pogba has reaped the clearest rewards of that approach, having gone from unused substitute at Liverpool in December to key man under the caretaker boss.

"He's a top, top player that I've always liked, ever since I saw him as a kid," Solskjaer said.

"He's a World Cup winner, he's a leader in the dressing room, on the pitch as well. He wants the ball all the time.

"My idea was to get him playing to the best of his abilities, not just him, but I thought he was an attacking midfielder.

"You see PSG man-marked him, other teams probably will.

"I don't know if Liverpool will. If they do, we will have experienced that because that is what they did and stopped Paul and created space for others. We need to be ready for that."

Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrate
Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrate

Like what you've read?
Help your friends Know It All by sharing this article to your social media.

Most Read Football

Top 50 managers of all-time (clockwise from top left): Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Marcelo Bielsa and Rafa Benitez all included by France Football1

Top 50 football managers ever?

Ferguson second? Well-respected France Football has published a list of the top 50 managers ever. See if you agree with them here.

Get all the latest football gossip from the day's back pages2

Paper Talk: Mane on Real radar

Sadio Mane attracting Real Madrid interest, Man United target considering his future and much more in Tuesday's back page highlights.

Sir Alex Ferguson (right) watches Manchester United's Champions League last 16 clash at PSG with executive vice chairman Ed Woodward3

Fergie holding United back - Zlatan

Zlatan Ibrahimovic says Manchester United must forget Sir Alex Ferguson because his former success is holding the club back.

Our look at the Sky Bet Championship title race4

Week-by-week: Champ title race

With the international break giving us a moment to breathe, Tom Carnduff predicts how the Sky Bet Championship title race will pan out.

Maurizio Sarri: The Italian is under pressure after a tough run of results at Chelsea5

Sack Race: Sarri or no more exits?

Maurizio Sarri is odds-on to be the next PL boss to leave following Chelsea's latest defeat which saw their top four hopes suffer a blow.

Football Tips

A view of Uttoxeter racecourse

Our best bets

Check out Sporting Life's best bets across racing, football and more.

Nathan Aspinall is the UK Open champion (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Sporting Life Tipping Record

A look at how the Sporting Life recommended bets have performed in March 2019.

Our best bets for the latest FA Cup round

Saturday's FA Cup preview

It's a big day of FA Cup action on Saturday and Paul Higham fancies goals at Watford and Swansea and a potential upset at Molineux.