Man Utd may have golden title chance if Klopp refuses to change Liverpool stance

Manchester United will be watching on hoping that Liverpool don’t change their mind next month.

Jurgen Klopp’s reigning champions have maintained their stance they will not be rushing to sign a new centre-half.

Despite a host of injury troubles, especially defensively, at Anfield this term, spending is not seen as the solution.

Joel Matip’s abductor strain was confirmed on Wednesday to be serious enough to keep him sidelined for a few weeks.

Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are still out long term as they recover from respective knee injuries.

So that leaves just versatile midfielder Fabinho and inexperienced duo Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips as options to rotate between at centre-half through January.

It’s hardly a title-winning set-up, but they have survived up to now even with the setbacks, as Liverpool sit top of the pile going into 2021.

Wednesday’s stalemate at Newcastle raised more questions surrounding their attack than their defence, as Liverpool edged to three points clear of United.

However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s ever-improving Red Devils have a game in hand on their arch-rivals.

Win that, and United would be level with Liverpool at more or less the halfway stage of the season.

Solskjaer has far less worries within his squad than Klopp too, with the spine of United’s team – Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, Harry Maguire, David de Gea – all fit and firing.

Before Liverpool kicked off against Newcastle, Klopp seemed resigned to the idea he would still have to stick with what he has, even if he did want to strengthen in the January transfer market.

Asked whether he was getting used to making enforced changes, the Reds manager said: “It’s not my hobby, but it’s true. We have to do it and we will do it, that’s how it is, we can’t change it.

“The boys have done, so far, really well. Rhys and Nat both did really well, and Fabinho as well.

“That’s the situation, nothing really to say about it. Joel is out, find another solution, that’s what we did.”

Liverpool are having to find solutions within their camp, not with cash.

And United will be keeping their fingers crossed they don’t invest over the next 31 days.

Additionally, the unpredictability of Covid-19’s impact on squads throughout the Premier League makes things extra challenging.

If Liverpool were to suffer any positive cases, or even an outbreak like Manchester City, Fulham or Sheffield United, they would be in greater trouble.

United can send a message to the champions on New Year’s Day when they host high-flying Aston Villa at Old Trafford (8pm).

If they can keep Jack Grealish and Co quiet and pick up another positive result at home, it would certainly see Liverpool sit up and take notice ahead of their crunch showdown at Anfield on January 17 (4.30pm).

“Other teams won, maybe last night, but we are in a good mood, as good as possible,” Klopp said after Liverpool failed to beat struggling Newcastle.

He was clearly referencing United’s last-minute victory over Wolves – reminiscent of the days of ‘Fergie time’.

The last thing Liverpool will want now is Solskjaer channeling his inner Sir Alex.

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