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Manchester United, Liverpool, scores, results, reaction, Champions League, standings

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A Premier League scheduling mess and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s subsequent selection direction has turned the race for Champions League football.

Liverpool fans didn’t need another reason to dislike Manchester United, but got it anyway on Wednesday (AEST) as their long-time Premier League rivals fielded a weakened side against Leicester.

Making 10 changes to the side that beat Aston Villa just three days ago, Solskjaer was unable to guide his team to victory, losing 2-1 to hand Manchester City the title and give the Foxes a massive leg-up in the race for the top four.

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Foxes fly as young United stumble | 01:27

After a Manchester United fan protest saw their Liverpool clash postponed, Solskjaer fumed as they were handed a new schedule that saw them play Villa on Sunday (AEST), before facing Leicester on Wednesday, leading into a match-up with Liverpool on Friday.

With the title out of reach and United comfortable in second place, Solskjaer’s reaction was to field an understrength side against Leicester, in an attempt to rest his star players, who will likely be back in the fold in time to face Liverpool.

Of course, that didn’t go down well.

After Leicester dropped to a surprise defeat to Newcastle over the weekend, the race for Champions League football was reignited, with West Ham five, and Liverpool six points back respectively.

After Wednesday’s win, though, Brendan Rodgers’ side moved to 66 points; eight points clear of West Ham and nine clear of Liverpool, who have two games in hand.

“What’s happened here is a set of circumstances created by Manchester United that will adversely affect Liverpool,” Richard Keys said of the protests that created the scheduling chaos in the first place.

“Not just in the short-term — but maybe in the next two, or three, or four years; dependant on how this season finishes.

“It’s totally and utterly wrong.”

Andy Gray agreed: “Have Liverpool fans got the right to feel aggrieved tonight? 100 percent.”

“Liverpool did nothing other than endure a wasted day when they were scheduled to face United and the upshot was that Solskjaer field a second string eleven against Leicester and will, almost certainly, send a first team out against Jurgen Klopp’s team,” Andy Dunn wrote for The Mirror.

Dunn added: “This was the night the race for the Champions League places got a little bit ugly.”

Manchester City are PL Champions | 02:31

Liverpool will lament the fact they’re in this position at all; a club so dominant just a season ago now relying on teams above them to slip up if they’re to even have a chance.

Nevertheless, United’s decision to play the team they did, after creating the problem, left those watching on with a “weird” taste in their mouths.



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