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Saturday 19 January 2019

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp dismisses Jose Mourinho jibe ahead of Anfield showdown

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho

Chris Bascombe

Jurgen Klopp hit back at taunts that he would not be deemed successful at Liverpool until he won trophies by arguing that was no way to judge his work so far.

Asked to respond to observations from Manchester - including United manager Jose Mourinho - about Liverpool's lack of trophies, Klopp agreed he must win silverware to be remembered.

But he recoiled at the notion that his three major finals in his three years at Anfield - including the Champions League final loss last season - were worthless.

Prior to tomorrow's trip to Anfield, Mourinho accepted a pointed invitation to agree that Klopp should be judged on silverware.

"I think trophies matter, yeah," said Mourinho.

"I think it matters especially when you have the potential to fight for trophies and when you clearly say the objective is to win the trophies.

"Sometimes, just to say it, is not very intelligent. But when you have the potential you have nothing to hide.

"You know from day one your desire has a relationship to your potential. Everybody can say that they want to win. The other thing is to say it in a cautious way in relation to the potential that you have.

Irish defender Conor Masterson has been drafted in to Jurgen Klopp’s squad. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Irish defender Conor Masterson has been drafted in to Jurgen Klopp’s squad. Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

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"I don't read much, but I think they (Liverpool) have said that their objective is to win the Premier League."

Klopp said his final defeats did not sum up the team's development since he became Liverpool manager. When informed of Mourinho's remarks, he replied: "No, that's true, but do I have to? Do I have to win it?

"People might remember that, but what I have to do is make the best of the things the club are offering me - that is what I believe in. If people say the Champions League campaign last season was not a success because we didn't win the final then I cannot change that.

"Is the finish successful? No, but the ride was brilliant. I enjoyed it a lot. Going to the final was fantastic, but if life - in all departments of life, including your job - if only the best counts and effort doesn't count then life is s***. I love the challenge.

"Make the best of it. That is how I learn life, I learnt it a little bit in football. In the end other people have to judge that.

Pressure

"The pressure is from outside, people saying if I don't win silverware then I have to leave.

"In the moment you find someone who can do the job better, you have to take him. As long as there is not, you have to trust the guy in the chair 100 per cent.

"We feel we are really the right combination - with the club, with all the people. So far, we have used it really well."

Klopp said rebuilding Liverpool had been a process during which three finals symbolised major improvement, not failure.

"We needed progress. We always tried to make the best of the situations we were in," he said.

"We did that last season - finishing fourth and getting to the Champions League final. The year before, no final but top four, the year before eighth in the table and the Europa League final.

"The club, the team, the size of the fan base, the manager as a combination, we should be successful. Just how successful we don't know because there is only one spot.

"Nobody knows in this moment (about this season). We have come so far and the only things we could reach at this stage we have reached. Sunday is only about United, not about where we go this season."

United have not lost in the Premier League at Anfield since 2013. They have not conceded on their past three domestic visits, Mourinho securing two successive goalless draws as United manager.

United's negative approach in those games was criticised. Not by Klopp.

"I'm not the Pope of football tactics and tell people what they have to do. We need to find a solution," he said.

Klopp has drafted in Ireland U-19s international Conor Masterson to his squad for tomorrow's game (4.0) amid a raft of defensive injuries.

Liverpool are without Trent Alexander-Arnold due to an ankle injury with James Milner set to deputise at right-back.

Joel Matip (collarbone) and Joe Gomez (fractured leg) are also on the injury.

Mourinho also has injury problems. Defender Victor Lindelof and forward Alexis Sanchez are missing with hamstring issues. Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay and Marcos Rojo will have fitness tests. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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