Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has paid little attention to Manchester United’s current troubles and believes the fact his side were one of the first to expose their weaknesses is of little relevance ahead of their mouth-watering Super Sunday encounter.

Erik ten Hag’s side were humiliated 7-0 at Anfield by their arch-rivals in March in the largest defeat for either side in the clubs’ 211-match history as United crumbled conceding three times in a seven-minute spell either side of half-time, shipping a further four in 22 minutes late on as the hosts ran riot.

Those deficiencies have been exploited by a number of other teams this season, though not quite to the same extent, with United having lost half of their 24 matches in all competitions to ramp up the pressure on Ten Hag.

But Klopp still remains wary of the old enemy, saying: “I never like when the headlines about United are not great before we play because it’s like ‘OK, then it is the game where they can put everything right’.


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“The more bad things people say about them, the stronger they will show up. That is always the case. I don’t like that.

“I don’t follow United closely enough to know exactly what the problem is there, but I saw Erik ten Hag was manager of the month last month and saw they were the team in form in the last month so how can it be all wrong? I just don’t understand it.

“The situation with Man United – and don’t get me wrong – it’s just not important for us as we just prepare for our team.

“I try to understand the situation of the opponent before a game, I really do, because I think it is important to know why they are motivated and want to put things right and sometimes I tell the players (his opinions) and sometimes I don’t tell the players.”

Klopp: We must show we’re big enough to win title

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Klopp has urged his players to show their title credentials

On Sunday for the visit of United, there is expected to be 57,000 fans in the stands as the new Anfield Road stand upper tier opens – Liverpool’s biggest league attendance for 50 years.

Klopp may be rebuilding a second team during his tenure, but the comeback victories over Bournemouth, Newcastle, Wolves and Crystal Palace this term reflects a resilience and mentality that has never left.

“I knew from the beginning we had a very good football team,” said Klopp. “We all knew how good the boys here can be.

“But all the teams fighting for the top four are outstanding. We had a good pre-season in which we didn’t train once 10 vs 11 which we had to play a lot during the first five games.

“We got through it and it helps the process of bringing the group closer together. I like the steps we are making. We have to see if they are big enough [to win the title]. But I can see the development, which is what I need to understand where it could end up.”

Before their humbling at Anfield last season, United were making a late charge to join the title race with eight wins and just one defeat in an 11-match run.

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Ahead of their Premier League clash with fierce rivals Liverpool, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag insists he’s not concerned about losing his job following their recent poor run and he’s instead focused on reversing their inconsistency

Ten Hag’s sixth-placed side are already 10 points behind Liverpool, the current leaders, and an eighth Premier League defeat of the campaign would almost certainly end already distant hopes of reeling in their rivals.

But Klopp insists inflicting more pain on their long-time adversaries is not a motivating factor.

“No. I have to think if I ever did that… I would probably say no. There is one thing we go for and that’s three points on a match day,” he added.

“If something helps for motivation? If it would be round about four matchdays before the end of the season and with that we could make the last step I would probably mention it but in this situation that’s just not important.

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Peter Smith feels Liverpool will be relishing the prospect of beating Man Utd on Sunday and said they look set to gift their fans the present of being top of the Premier League at Christmas

“The 7-0 we knew that day it was a freak result that happens once in a lifetime. If it helps anyone for the next game it is the team who lost 7-0 and not the team who won 7-0.

“If you take it all out of consideration and just play a football game against the historical rival of Liverpool at home at Anfield that itself must make it a special game and that’s what I want to see from us, a special game.

“It is a home game. It is for the people. We know what it means. No-one would expect us not to care. We care a lot (but) we cannot go nuts before the game already.”

Klopp: December the toughest part of the season

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UFC’s Paddy Pimblett picks his combined Liverpool x Man Utd 5-a-side team ahead of their game at Anfield on Sunday

Klopp’s main selection decision is around who to pair with Virgil van Dijk at centre-back with Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez having a half each alongside impressive 20-year-old Jarell Quansah in the 2-1 Europa League defeat to Union Saint-Gilloise.

Liverpool host West Ham in a Carabao Cup quarter-final after the United game with Arsenal the visitors to Anfield next weekend. Further tests against Burnley at Turf Moor and a visit from Newcastle on New Year’s Day lie just around the corner.

“It feels exactly like that [a crucial point in the season],” said Klopp. “It’s Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, Tuesday. It’s so tough, it’s brutal and we have to get through this.

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On Saturday Social, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Joel Matip try to guess who the professional footballer is from five different players across four different challenges!

“We’ve had our injuries and we will see who is available for all the games but we need them all to somehow get through it.”

The benefit for Liverpool is that only one of those games are away from home, which is an advantage given the reduced amount of travel time.

“If we don’t have to travel, that’s better and having Anfield is better still. But we will need Anfield, definitely, as the run is really tough.

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Sky Sports’ Charlotte Marsh and Jamie Weir discuss Crystal Palace’s unlucky defeat to Liverpool and why the side fell at the last hurdle despite being the stronger team

“They are all big games. [Manchester] United and Arsenal are big games. West Ham is a quarter-final… it’s a big game.

“Boxing Day [against Burnley] is always a big game. It would be harder if more were away from home but it’s still a big task.”

Klopp has used the expression “lucky” to refer in moments to how the make-up of his squad have gelled so successfully together since the summer.

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Watch Liverpool vs Man Utd on Super Sunday

Erik ten Hag is discovering how difficult it is to build a team spirit with an expensively-assembled squad that so far this season has been less than the sum of its parts.

Klopp explained: “You can have an idea when you build a squad, but in the end how can you know how it works out when they’re all together in one room? They have to find each other and they have to start trusting and putting faith in each other.

“They have to love each other like brothers… that is the ideal world. You never know if that can happen. But the boys who were here have opened their arms to the new players and it’s always been like this since I’ve been here.

“There’s a natural confidence that has come into the dressing room and that’s the basis for something good.”

Watch Liverpool vs Man Utd on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm

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