Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears the axe might fall should Man U go down badly to Liverpool. Photo: Richard Sellers/EMPICS Sport

MANCHESTER – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fears that a heavy defeat in Manchester United’s next game at home to bitter rivals Liverpool could put his job in jeopardy.

Solskjaer has described it as the ‘perfect game’ for United after the international break following the club’s worst start to a season in 30 years.

However, it is understood the 46-year-old is concerned that executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward will come under huge pressure to sack him if United lose heavily to table-topping Liverpool at Old Trafford a week on Sunday.

Defeat by Newcastle on Sunday saw Solskjaer’s side drop into the bottom half of the Premier League, just two points off the relegation zone after eight games.

Liverpool, on the other hand, are on a run of 17 league wins in a row.

United’s 3-1 defeat at Anfield last December sealed Jose Mourinho’s fate, and an embarrassing repeat could put Solskjaer’s future in doubt.

Having replaced Mourinho as caretaker boss, the Norwegian was installed on a permanent basis in March, but has won only five of the 21 games

since then. His side have lost nine of those and failed to score more than once in a game since beating Chelsea 4-0 at home on the opening day of the season in August.

United insisted yesterday that Solskjaer retains their support and his position as manager is not under threat.

They said the club remain committed to a long-term rebuilding programme under him and appreciate the transition will take time.

The United hierarchy are also sympathetic to the fact that Solskjaer was without eight first-team players for the trip to Tyneside on Sunday.

Solskjaer apologised to fans for United’s third league defeat of the season and striker Marcus Rashford followed goalkeeper David de Gea yesterday in admitting that the situation is unacceptable.

‘You can’t hide in football and the last few weeks simply haven’t been good enough,’ Rashford wrote on Twitter.

‘As a United fan myself, that hurts. And you deserve better. We know we need to improve and that is our sole focus as a team and as a club.’

Solskjaer is hoping to have several key players back for the Liverpool game.

Summer signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka should be available after illness, while fellow defender Victor Lindelof has joined up with the Sweden camp to have his back injury assessed. However, striker Mason Greenwood has withdrawn from England Under 21 duty with a similar back problem.

Daily Mail