Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Manchester United will field a rotated lineup against Liverpool in the FA Cup – but vowed his starting XI will still be strong.
Having last weekend met for the first time in a year, that tense 0-0 Premier League draw at Anfield will be swiftly followed by a fourth-round clash at Old Trafford this Sunday.
Liverpool head into the tie wounded by Thursday’s shock 1-0 home defeat to Burnley, whereas United welcome Jurgen Klopp’s men top of the table thanks to their 2-1 victory at Fulham on Wednesday.
Solskjaer plans to lean on his squad players in the FA Cup, which provides the 1999 treble hero with another shot at his first trophy in the dugout.
“We’ll rotate, that’s for sure,” Solskjaer said. “We’ll put a decent team together of course, a team I feel can win the game.
“Of course you want to get your hands on that first trophy, but it’s always the league position that’s the measure of how far you have come.
“Anyone can have an easy cup run, I’m not one of those. I never get an easy cup run!
“I’m never going to watch a draw ever again because we always seem to pick out the difficult opponents. In a cup run, sometimes you can get to a final without really playing any of the top ones.
“This time around, we’ve picked one of the favourites and we know this is a big one if you want to go all the way.”
United have lost four semi-finals in the last year and Solskjaer is still looking to get the better of Klopp at the fifth time of asking.
But the Norwegian enjoyed his fair share of success against Liverpool in his playing days, including netting the winner against them in an FA Cup fourth-round tie on January 24, 1999.
Solskjaer taking inspiration from past success
That triumph helped build momentum in what proved a remarkable campaign. Solskjaer hopes this Sunday can be a catalyst for success as the sides meet 22 years to the day later at the same stage.
“Of course we can transform a few things from that season,” he said. “We know that there’s tight moments, very fine margins.
“We know in that season we were close to going out against Liverpool. Peter Schmeichel saved a penalty from Dennis Bergkamp in the semi-final in injury time.
“Those moments, I think they gave us the mental advantage, especially in the semi-final.
“But against Liverpool as well in that fourth round, when you get that boost of turning 1-0 down to a 2-1 win against a big team, it’s massive.
“The FA Cup is a run we’ve got to enjoy as long as it lasts. We got to the semis last year and as I said, we’re going to make a few changes but we’ll put a team out there that I hope can go through.”