Friday 28 April 2017

'It was wild' - Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp frustrated by Manchester United's long ball tactics

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Simon Peach

Jurgen Klopp was irked by Manchester United's long-ball tactics as Liverpool had victory snatched away towards the end of a "wild" north-west derby.

Sunday's Premier League clash at Old Trafford could not have been more different to October's drab 0-0 draw at Anfield in terms of entertainment and energy.

James Milner put the visitors ahead by coolly converting a first-half penalty after Paul Pogba, whose Twitter hashtag was advertised around the pitch, handled a corner in the box.

However, the world's most expensive player's blushes were spared by fellow big-name summer acquisition Zlatan Ibrahimovic heading home six minutes from time to secure a 1-1 draw.

Klopp was naturally frustrated to have conceded a late equaliser, which the Liverpool boss believes was born of United's direct style that ended up with the ball spending "25 minutes in the air".

The German told BBC Sport: "We needed to be brave. We created the spaces we wanted, we scored the goal.

"In the end period of the game when United started playing long balls - (to) Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic - after 80 minutes (of) high intense football, it is really hard.

"I hoped we would have a bit of luck. Unfortunately not, but all good.

"(On Monday) I can enjoy the result, but (on Sunday night) only the performance.

"It is so intense. They play long balls, it was a wild game. There was a lot of action in the last few minutes.

"We were here to win the game, which is why we are not 100 per cent satisfied."

Klopp and opposite number Jose Mourinho clashed towards the end of the match, with fourth official Craig Pawson coming between them after an incident involving Roberto Firmino and Ander Herrera.

Liverpool forward Firmino was booked for shoving United midfielder Herrera in response to having his shirt pulled in stoppage time.

Both managers downplayed the issue, with Mourinho saying: "He (Klopp) thought I was asking for his player to be sent off. I wasn't. There was no problem at all."

Klopp added: "He (Mourinho) wanted the minimum of a yellow card."

Like Klopp, Ibrahimovic was not wholly satisfied with the result, despite United coming back to earn a point.

The Swede bemoaned "simple mistakes", admitting a more direct style was key for Mourinho's team.

"We get one point, but we were not on the top of our game," Ibrahimovic told Sky Sports.

"It was a hard fight. We were 1-0 down and we chased and, at the end, we got the equaliser.

"We did simple mistakes. We were not feeling comfortable under the pressure of the opponent and I think we played the wrong way.

"If we would have played like we did in the second half in the first half, it would have been a different game.

"We were more direct (in the second half). We did too many mistakes in our build-up (in the first half).''

The result ended United's nine-match winning run in all competitions, but Ibrahimovic now has 19 goals from 29 appearances this season and his latest effort helped close the gap on fifth-placed Manchester City to two points.

The 35-year-old added: "We would have liked to win, of course, to close the gap even more, but we haven't lost a game for a long time."

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport