Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got Manchester United back on track ahead of the north-west derby at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Solskjaer has presided over 11 wins in 13 fixtures in all competitions since taking charge on an interim basis following the sacking of Jose Mourinho in mid-December.
The Norwegian has earned plaudits for bringing back a more dynamic edge to United, reminiscent of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, which Klopp thought was on display in the Red Devils’ FA Cup victory over Chelsea on Monday.
And Klopp, whose Liverpool side will go back to the top of the Premier League if they avoid defeat this weekend, is anticipating another energetic showing from their fierce rivals.
Klopp said: “We are no magicians but the potential this man’s Manchester United team has is really good, that was always clear.
“It didn’t work out for different reasons (under Mourinho) and he came in and found exactly the right words, he did exactly the right things in training.
“It’s not the best news for us, obviously, but for all Manchester United fans, it’s brilliant.
“He’s bringing in all the things Sir Alex Ferguson stood for because he was experienced big time in Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in Manchester.
“With all the new things in football, that’s really good and makes them a threat again. They were always a threat in specific games but now they are really back on track.
“You saw the Chelsea-United game and it was so intense in the first 15-20 minutes, it was unbelievable. Both teams pressing everywhere, under pressure in all departments and all areas of the pitch.
“It’s pretty likely it will be again, it’s not likely that it will be two teams waiting for each other or making a mistake. We have to be lively there and we will be.”
Midfielder Fabinho filled in at centre-back but the Reds were able to keep a clean sheet in a goalless draw in the first leg of the last 16 tie at Anfield.
Van Dijk will be available at United but Klopp said of the Dutchman: “The most important thing was that we didn’t miss him as much as, again, a lot of people expected us to miss him. We defend as a unit.
“But of course it’s really good to have him back and by the way, it’s the first time in I don’t know how many weeks that we have to make a choice between midfielders, full-backs, even centre-halves – if I think about Fabinho again.
“For us, that’s a good moment.”