O'Shea: How United can take advantage

Thursday 14 March 2024 09:59

John O’Shea hopes Manchester United can take advantage of Liverpool’s heavy recent workload when the teams meet in Sunday’s Emirates FA Cup quarter-final.

The Merseysiders are still hoping to complete an unprecedented ‘quadruple’ of Premier League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Europa League, in Jurgen Klopp’s final season as manager.

They will have played twice since United’s 2-0 victory over Everton on Saturday, and O’Shea has pinpointed that as a potential advantage for us this weekend.

The FA Cup is, of course, the last chance for Erik ten Hag’s side to claim silverware this season, too.

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“Look, it’s a big game, a really big game,” Sheasy told MUTV last Friday, at a warm-up event ahead of Everton’s visit.

“Any time we’re playing Liverpool, it's a huge game, but also, you know, it's a proper chance to win a big trophy.

“I think the players will be confident, because look at the backing they'll get from Old Trafford against Liverpool, but also being aware that, look, Liverpool have players that can hurt you.

“So it's that balance, but also I think just the fact that it's United's big chance to win a trophy.

“Liverpool, obviously, are still fighting on a couple more fronts so they might have their eye off the ball a little bit maybe. Hopefully, United can take advantage.”

O’Shea’s former United team-mates Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney said that our fans ‘have a huge role to play’ on Sunday.

And the interim Republic of Ireland head coach agrees, believing that the increased number of away supporters will help generate a more vociferous atmosphere.

“Yeah, I think obviously with the FA Cup, they'll get a slightly bigger allocation, won't they? So look you'd expect that and hopefully that just leads to a better atmosphere.

“And hopefully the United fans respond to that and I'm sure the players will respond too.”

'The fans have a huge role to play'


Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney agree: our supporters can make the difference against Liverpool in the FA Cup.

Although Mason Mount and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have returned to training this week, both sides are likely to be missing key players.

Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw, among others, will definitely be out for United, while Klopp will have to make do without the likes of Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota.

That could provide a chance for younger players to shine, believes O’Shea.

“I think they’ve had seven or eight major injuries and, obviously, they’ve played a good few youngsters,” he added.

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“But also look, Erik ten Hag can point to the fact that United have had major injuries to some very important players. So you get the balance of that.

“I think Liverpool were kind of impressive in terms of how they stuck to their youngsters and had the confidence to stick with them, whereas obviously United have a bigger squad in that sense, of some more senior players and older players.

“We’re still giving chances to a few younger players this season too, and obviously, in particular, Kobbie Mainoo. He's been the main man and hopefully he will be the the main man against Liverpool on the day as well.”