Soccer-Solskjaer not to blame if Liverpool miss Champions League: Klopp

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United v Liverpool - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - October 20, 2019 Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp during the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

(Reuters) - Liverpool will only have themselves to blame if they fail to qualify for the Champions League next season, manager Juergen Klopp said, despite their task being made more difficult by Leicester City's win over a weakened Manchester United.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 10 changes for Tuesday's 2-1 home defeat that moved Leicester nine points ahead of Liverpool in the battle for a top-four finish.

Solskjaer is expected to recall his first-team regulars at home to Liverpool later on Thursday in a fixture that was rearranged due to fan protests at Old Trafford 10 days ago.

Solskjaer was furious after the Premier League ordered United to play three matches in five days but Klopp said the rearranged schedule also had a knock-on effect for other clubs.

"The explanation from the Premier League was that no other team should suffer because of what happened in Manchester and that didn't work out pretty well, a little bit for West Ham (United) and a little bit for Liverpool," Klopp told reporters.

"But if we don't qualify for the Champions League it is not the fault of Solskjaer and his team selection or the Premier League, it's our fault.

"In this specific case, I think it could have been done differently. But we get more and more used to things rarely going in your favour or direction. It is just accepted as how it is."

Liverpool are sixth on 57 points having played two games less than fourth-placed Chelsea (64). West Ham are fifth with 58 points having played one game more than Klopp's side.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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