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Man Utd suffered against Liverpool 'long balls', says Solskjaer

1:32 AM GMT+4 20/01/2020
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Manchester United
The manager believes the quality of the Merseysiders' direct play makes them extremely difficult to stop going forward

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had nothing but praise for Liverpool after finishing up on the losing side at Anfield, while suggesting the Premier League leaders make the difference with their direct playing style. 

Manchester United had battled to a 1-1 draw in October against the Reds, the only time this season that Jurgen Klopp's table-toppers have dropped league points. 

But it was a different story on Sunday, as goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah led the hosts to a comfortable 2-0 win

Van Dijk struck with an early header to open the scoring, while the Egypt international put the game beyond doubt in injury time after latching on to goalkeeper Alisson's lofted pass. 

Solskjaer recognised the gulf between the two teams, but also pointed out that Liverpool are not afraid to take a route-one approach to the net when needed. 

“It doesn't matter whether the scoreline is a fair reflection of the game. They won it," he told reporters after the game. 

"We had chances and they had chances. It's about taking the moment. We had some big chances but Liverpool will say they deserved to win.

“They are the most direct team in the league. They put you under so much pressure and I thought our defenders and midfielders handled it well.

“When the long balls go for Mane, Salah and Firmino, then it is very difficult as they always look to go in behind you.

“The last 10-15 minutes we really pressed them back and made them look tired and us look really fit.

“We looked strong. But we didn't have that quality. When you don't have that quality in the last pass and finish then you aren't going to get anything from places like this."

The Norwegian singled out Van Dijk after the defender left the Reds reeling with a brilliant effort to put Liverpool in the ascendancy. 

“We don't like to concede from set-pieces. [The first goal] didn't go to plan," he added. 

“You have to [close] against Virgil as he is one of the best headers of the ball. When he gets a free run that's never easy to defend against.

"It's disappointing. Conceding from the last kick of the game is also disappointing but we had to send everybody up by then after half-an-hour building pressure.”

United are back in action on Wednesday at home to Burnley, with Liverpool travelling to take on Wolves the following day.