LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 24, 2021: Manchester United's manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær (L) and manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Cup 4th Round match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jurgen Klopp defends Man United team selection – ‘I would have done the same’

Despite Leicester sealing a 2-1 win over Man United that could be fatal to Liverpool’s top-four hopes, Jurgen Klopp has defended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s 10 changes.

Having seen United play Aston Villa two days previous, Solskjaer retained only Mason Greenwood for Tuesday night’s visit of Leicester.

Youngsters Amad Diallo and Anthony Elanga came in among a host of fringe figures, and United conceded three points to the Foxes, which has boosted their chances of finishing above Liverpool.

With Chelsea looking to have tied up third, the Reds can only hope of a fourth-placed finish, but will need to win all four of their remaining games and Leicester to slip up to give themselves the best chance of doing so.

Despite Solskjaer being criticised for his wholesale changes at Old Trafford – with a full-strength side expected to return against Liverpool – Klopp has defended his United counterpart.

The Reds manager has also criticised the Premier League for the rearranged schedule imposed of United, and its impact on the top-four battle.

“It was the lineup I expected. Not exactly the lineup, but I knew that he had to make these changes,” he said.

“They played on Sunday. Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. I said it 500 times, with all the things that happened and the protest in Manchester that caused it to lead to that situation, to play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday is a crime. It is.

“But it’s not the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and the players. My question to myself was would I have done the same? Yes, you have to.

“We are late in the season, United got to the Europa League final which means an awful lot of games, and now you get Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. That’s not possible.

“But the weekend after is a weekend off for United – so they now play Thursday, then the weekend after [is free].

“I’m not the guy who does the fixture list, but when we thought about how it could work out on the day, when the game got cancelled we drove home on the bus and we made our fixtures already, there was no Tuesday-Thursday and we would have all played all the games.

“You would have moved one West Brom game, but that didn’t happen.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 14, 2021: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah looks dejected during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and Real Madird CF at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“The explanation on that from the Premier League was that no other team should suffer because of the things that happened in Manchester.

“Let me say it like this: that didn’t work out pretty well! Obviously nobody else, but a little bit West Ham, a little bit Liverpool.

“If we don’t qualify for the Champions League, it’s not the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer because of his team selection, or the Premier League. It’s our fault.

“But in this specific case, I think we could have done differently, definitely.

“We get more and more used to that things barely go in your favour or direction, we just accept it. That’s how it is.”