Premier League Edinson Cavani came off the bench to salvage a point for Manchester United from a sloppy display in a draw at Newcastle in the Premier League on Monday.
In the week leading up to Christmas, a record 103 players and staff tested positive for the virus – an increase from 90 the week prior.
While some clubs are pushing for extra substitutes in a bid to negotiate the impact of positive tests, Klopp accused bosses of clubs with less-demanding schedules of looking after themselves as opposed to the league as a whole.
Carragher believes Tottenham Hotspurs will edge Arsenal and Manchester United to finish in the Premier League top-four alongside Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea because Spurs have Antonio Conte at the helm and he can challenge Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel.
Recall that Tottenham appointed Conte last month after a string of bad results under former manager, Nuno Espirito Santo.
Speaking on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football, Carragher said, “The reason why I feel like Spurs have a really good chance of getting into the top four is because they have an elite manager.
Playing its first game in 16 days after coronavirus cases in the squad led to two games being postponed, United was outplayed in the first half and Allan Saint-Maximin gave Newcastle the lead in the seventh minute following a swift break after Raphael Varane was dispossessed.
Cavani entered as a halftime substitute, injected some urgency and pressing into United’s attacking play, and scored an equalizer in the 71st minute by poking home a rebound after his initial shot was blocked.
Newcastle, which hit the post in the final minutes through substitute Dwight Gayle, was denied just a second win of the campaign and stayed in next-to-last place, while seventh-place United missed a chance to jump to fifth with a display that showed the team still has plenty of work to do under recently hired coach Ralf Rangnick.
His team was so off the pace in the first half _ perhaps due to the extended COVID-enforced break _ that Rangnick opted to make two substitutions at half time, with Fred and Mason Greenwood coming off.
Any of the outfield players could easily have been replaced.
“I didn’t like it all,” Rangnick said of United’s performance. “We are trying to get better at controlling the game. Today we didn’t control the game.”
Bruno Fernandes was often seen waving his hands in the air, complaining at the referee and his teammates. Marcus Rashford looked lost out on the right wing. Varane and Harry Maguire were being hounded in possession at center back.
United, back playing after having games against Brighton and Brentford called off, was lucky to go to the break only 1-0 down. That goal came after Sean Longstaff pressurized Varane, picked him off and played in Saint-Maximin, who cut inside Maguire and poked a finish into the corner.