Tuesday 19 September 2017

Jurgen Klopp wants to make game of it against vastly-different Manchester United

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp intends to make a game of it at Old Trafford
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp intends to make a game of it at Old Trafford

Liverpool face a vastly-different Manchester United side this weekend to the defensive one they met earlier this season but Jurgen Klopp will send his team out at Old Trafford intent on making a game of it.

Jose Mourinho's tactics in the dreadful goalless draw in October were roundly criticised for being overly negative but there is no doubt United left with a point and the happier of the two teams.

Since then United's fortunes have improved and they are seeking a 10th successive win in all competitions when the two arch-rivals meet on Sunday.

Despite a wobble at the start of 2017, twice conceding to only draw at Sunderland, being held to a goalless draw at home to Plymouth in the FA Cup and then losing the first leg of the EFL Cup semi-final at Southampton, Klopp's game-plan will be for Liverpool to be themselves.

"We realise before the game that we are Liverpool and we need to show this," he said.

"We will try everything we need to make the difference. Everyone who wants to see a real fight for the game, then yes, watch it. It will be 100 per cent from our side.

"I hear it in your questions, I hear it when I talk to different people, because of our last game (the 1-0 defeat at Southampton) it is like 'Oh my God - and now it is Man United' but give me 11 players and we will be competitive.

"I know how they (players) react to not-that-good performances. It is not about being confident before the game, it is about getting confidence in the game with the right kind of movements, right kind of defending.

"They (United) are better, more used to each other.

"One important example is Henrikh Mkhitaryan (whom Klopp signed for Borussia Dortmund): he took a bit of time but now they can use his outstanding quality.

"He combines skills at the highest tempo: good finisher, good attitude, good worker. He can play different positions and he is a world-class player, no doubt.

"They are more confident, it is a different side.

"There is no doubt about the quality of their players - even when they played here."

Klopp will hope to be able to draft more quality into his starting line-up now Philippe Coutinho, who had a 30-minute cameo return from injury at St Mary's after more than six weeks out with an ankle problem, Jordan Henderson (heel) and Joel Matip (ankle) are all back in training.

Sadio Mane, currently at the African Nations Cup, remains a big absence but Liverpool will undoubtedly be able to improve on their pedestrian performance at Southampton if any or all of that aforementioned trio can play at Old Trafford.

"It is good that they are back - if they are back. They bring quality," Klopp added.

"When Phil doesn't play we miss his creativity and finishing, he is a very important player for us - the same as Hendo in another role.

"When they are not available I actually don't think too much about it because we have to find solutions and we've done quite well in the last few weeks, especially when we have been without Phil.

"It is about the players but it is not about the players we miss. It is only about being patient enough, speeding up in the right moment, the passing needs to be quicker.

"We know what we have to do to create more chances but I don't think especially ahead of United we need to think about different things."

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