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Great Britain

Man Utd are lacking enough quality to get into the Champions League – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should forget the top four

MANCHESTER UNITED are nowhere near the standard of Liverpool — and I don’t see them getting into the top four this season.

Even if Marcus Rashford had been fit for yesterday’s clash at Anfield, they wouldn’t have beaten Jurgen Klopp’s runaway leaders.

Rashford might have made it a bit more difficult for Liverpool.

But let’s be honest, if Liverpool had been having one of their clinical days they could have been five up in an hour.

They should have been out of sight because they missed that many chances.

United are lacking quality to get into a Champions League place unless they make some moves in the January transfer window.

Anthony Martial may have missed a sitter to make it 1-1, but as soon as he did that I thought ‘that is it’.

Then Mo Salah deservedly got that second one on the break right at the death.

I don’t think anyone can argue that Liverpool were not far superior, that wasn’t a surprise in the slightest.

United dug in but they are so obviously lacking quality in terms of where they want to be.

They are going to have to sit and be patient and hope to improve after every transfer window, which is going to take a while. Their fans are going to have to sit and suffer.

It was always a big gamble going into the season with Rashford, Martial and Mason Greenwood as the only recognised strikers.

I said right from the off that letting Romelu Lukaku go and not replacing him was a massive mistake.

They needed a forward in, whether Rashford was carrying an injury or not. They are desperate for one now and where do you find a top quality one in the January transfer window? Erling Haaland seemed the only one and they missed out on him.

As well as their problems in attack, their zonal marking system was badly exposed again yesterday at Anfield for the first goal. Brandon Williams was chosen to block Virgil van Dijk and didn’t do it.

What a mismatch! Van Dijk is 6ft 4in, Williams 5ft 7in - with Van Dijk probably weighing a good 20kg more than the youngster, much of it muscle.

Van Dijk is so big and strong, once he has got a run on him Williams had absolutely no chance of stopping him.

This title race is going to be over in March. Liverpool have picked up another three points this weekend while all their rivals - if you can still call them that - have faltered.

You have to worry what pundits like me are going to be talking about in the last couple of months of the season!

BOURNE GOAL-SCORER

While on the subject of strikers you have to feel for Callum Wilson at Bournemouth.

Eddie Howe’s side are in big, big trouble and anything that can go wrong is going wrong for them right now.

Like Rashford, Wilson is an England international. He has four caps and one goal for the Three Lions.

But he has now gone 15 Premier League games without a goal, his last one coming against West Ham back in September.

He had his first effort on target since October yesterday and when he had another decent opportunity, he slipped and failed to make any sort of connection. His confidence must be so low now and as a fellow striker I feel for him.

But it is not just his fault. The way Bournemouth set up they just don’t create chances.

There are no magic words you can say to someone who is suffering like Wilson.

You have just got to believe in yourself and keep getting into the box. If he is not getting in there, with the way Bournemouth set up, no-one is going to!

The Cherries have the joint lowest goals in the league, and watching their 1-0 defeat at Norwich you can understand why.

I know they were 10v11 for half an hour, but for that half an hour they were really poor. And when it was 10v10 for the last 15 minutes they were equally as poor.

With Liverpool strolling to the title, Wilson and Bournemouth’s decline, plus the other teams’ desperate relegation fight, look like getting a lot more exposure as the season draws to a close.

CARRIED HOWAY

Yes, I got a bit carried away when my team Newcastle grabbed that unexpected late winner at home to Chelsea on Saturday.

I’d no idea Gary Lineker was filming me in the BBC studio. I got a bit excited for ten seconds and that was it.

I’ve probably not got that thrilled about a Newcastle goal since... they last scored one. As for a Magpies revival, I don’t think Steve Bruce can do a lot more than he’s doing with what he’s got.

It’s not pretty at times - but what he has is great team spirit.

He’s got players who care and who want to scrap and fight for him.

If you’ve got that, it’s half the battle.

As for getting my revenge on Lineker, the problem is he’s always trying to be so cool that he never shows very much emotion!


FIRM RULING TOO SOFT

THERE was no way Roberto Firmino’s goal against Manchester United should have been disallowed by VAR.

I didn’t think it was a foul by Virgil van Dijk on keeper David de Gea. He was weak and he got lucky - United got lucky.

We have to remember why VAR was brought in - to eradicate the absolute howlers.

And there is no way ref Craig Pawson made an absolute howler.

It is crazy the goal was disallowed when there was a stronger challenge on De Gea in the Everton game in December and the goal stood.

Man United boss Solskjaer confirms star striker Rashford will miss at least SIX WEEKS with stress fracture in his back
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