Manchester United players 'want to face Burnley before Liverpool'

Manchester United players ‘want to play their game in hand against Burnley before they take on Liverpool’ as they think they can ‘put pressure’ on Jurgen Klopp’s men ahead of Anfield showdown on January 17

Manchester United players are reportedly hoping to play their Premier League game in hand against Burnley just days before they take on Liverpool at Anfield.

Heading into the new year, United have emerged as title contenders to the Reds and with a game in hand sit in second just three points behind their bitter rivals.

United have just over a week’s rest after they take on Watford in the FA Cup before they face Liverpool on January 17.

But according to the Manchester Evening News, the club’s players are ready to sacrifice their midweek break to play the Clarets on either January 12 or 13 as a way of putting the pressure on Jurgen Klopp’s side.

With no mid-winter break this season following the crammed nature of calendar as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Premier League have given clubs a rare free-midweek rest during January.

United were due to take on Burnley on the opening day of the season back in September but, like many clubs competing in latter stages of European competition last term, were allowed to delay their 2020-21 campaign to give them time to rest between the seasons.

However the packed schedule which has seen United compete in the Champions League and reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup means finding an alternative date to play the game has proven tricky. 

If they do not play Burnley in January then the rearranged fixture could have to be played as late as April if they also continue to progress in the Europa League and the FA Cup. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admits he would rather face Burnley at Turf Moor sooner rather than later and mistakenly thought earlier in December that Burnley had a midweek match in the week commencing January 11. 

‘I haven’t had a date or a time now because obviously we’re in the Carabao Cup,’ the United boss said shortly before their quarter-final win in the cup.

‘We’re still in the Europa League and the first free midweek we’ve got – hopefully we could be in the semi-final of the Carabao Cup – the free week we’ve got after that, Burnley have a midweek game that week, so it could be a long while yet.

‘I think this season is going to be very unpredictable and up and down. Whoever finds the consistency and the energy will have a better chance than in the last few seasons, because there’s been a few runaway teams.

‘For us, the quicker we can get the game in hand against Burnley played the better so that the league table looks as it should be.’

United have an earlier opportunity to put pressure on Liverpool when they host Aston Villa on New Year’s Day, with victory enough to take them level on points with the Reds at the summit. 

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