Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insists a Manchester United win at Liverpool on Sunday would be a "shock" despite his team going into the match ahead of the Reds at the Premier League summit. (More Football News)
United and Liverpool have not faced each other as the Premier League's top two since April 1997. While Tottenham and Leicester City could potentially move above Jurgen Klopp's men before they clash at Anfield, it still highlights how rare it has been for both clubs to be fighting near the summit at the same time.
Liverpool were the last team to inflict an away defeat on United in the Premier League, as they emerged 2-0 victors in January last year - the Red Devils have since gone 15 unbeaten on the road, drawing just twice.
At that point, Liverpool moved 30 points clear of United in the league, but this time around require a victory to just go level with them.
But for all the positivity and momentum sweeping through United, Solskjaer is remaining reserved and realistic, putting the pressure back on Liverpool as he is adamant an away win would be an upset given the fact the Reds have not lost in their past 67 home league games, a run that stretches back to April 2017.
"The next one is always the biggest, most important," Solskjaer told reporters when asked if this was the biggest game of his managerial career.
"Being of course where we are in the league, that gives us more confidence, it's a sign, indication of where we're at.
Ole: "You’re always excited when you play against teams of Liverpool's quality.January 15, 2021
"But it's a game versus the champions, they've an amazing record at Anfield, not lost there in the league for many years, so it's a great test for us. Can we go there and cause an upset?"
Solskjaer was pressed on that assertion again soon after, with the Norwegian asked if it could really be considered a shock if a United side top of the league beat Liverpool.
"If you look at the last few seasons, it would be an upset, it would be a shock," he insisted.
"I think our position at the moment is a product of all the hard work we have done in the training ground, what the players are putting down every single day.
"We probably deserve to be where we are at the moment, but I don't think many would have thought of another word [other than upset] for us beating Liverpool at Anfield if you go six weeks back. But we are looking forward to it and hopefully we can cause an upset."
Solskjaer also addressed the gulf in points between the sides after their previous meeting, suggesting it was an unfair reflection of the difference between the two.
However, he believes his side is far better equipped 12 months on.
"You don’t get anything for being top of the league in January," adds the boss.January 15, 2021
"Of course, we're a much better side now than a year ago but then we lost that game to a [Virgil] van Dijk header from a corner and counter-attack at the last kick of the game from our corner," he said.
"So, I don't think we were a million miles away from them then either, I think that's a misperception that people said that. We did have some moments in that game ourselves.
"Of course, the league position shows we are competitive, we are up there with six, seven or eight other teams, it's a tighter season this year. The last few years there have been two teams running away with it by the end of October, now at least we are in it, so we're halfway."