Monday 19 March 2018

John Aldridge: Man United are more streetwise than Liverpool, but I know which manager I'd rather have

Jurgen Klopp
Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool goal scoring great John Aldridge believes his former club 'only have themselves to blame' after a 2-1 defeat against Manchester United on Saturday, as he suggested Jurgen Klopp's players lack a nastiness that some of their rivals use to their advantage.

United beat Liverpool at Old Trafford thanks to two first half goals from Marcus Rashford, yet the statistics from the game confirmed that Jurgen Klopp's visitors had dominated most of the key statistics from the game.

After Liverpool had a host of second half penalty appeals waved away by referee Craig Pawson, Aldridge has suggested his former club need to become more streetwise to match their rivals competing in the Premier League's top five.

"Jurgen Klopp claimed the referee cost Liverpool a point at Old Trafford, but I wouldn’t agree with him on this occasion," states Aldridge.

"I would argue that if Klopp’s Liverpool team were a little more streetwise, they would have got at least a draw out of the game, but they are too honest for their own good at times.

"We saw Tottenham players getting penalties at Anfield a few weeks back after falling over in the box, but Salah decided to stay on his feet and the referee then decided to give nothing.

"What would have happened if Mohamed Salah had fallen over like most Premier League players would have done? I reckon he would have got a penalty, but that is not the way Klopp has his players thinking.

"They try to win matches in an honest way, by outpassing and outscoring opponents and what we saw yesterday was a team winning via an alternative route.

"The Salah penalty decision was probably borderline, but I have no doubt that Liverpool should have been given a penalty when Antonio Valencia handled in the box and denied Sadio Mane a chance to score.

"The United player had time to get his arm out of the way and that was a clear spot kick for me, but Liverpool should not blame the referee for what was a horrible defeat."

Aldridge went on to encourage the Liverpool team to bounce back in the final eight games of the season, as he suggested he would still rather have Klopp managing his team than United boss Mourinho.

"This was Mourinho football at its finest and while I wouldn’t want my team playing like that, it produces results and often sees his team winning trophies at the end of the season," added Aldridge.

"You have to give the guy some credit for getting footballers to sing from his hymn sheet, with the structure he puts into a team making it tough to break them down and he tends to have a couple of creative players who can make the most of a chance when it comes their way.

"This is not what you expect from a great club like Manchester United, but Mourinho said after the game he doesn’t care what anything thinks about him and he always seems to take delight in destroying attacking teams and winning on his own terms.

"Liverpool have to take this defeat on the chin, dust themselves down and go again because they are more than good enough to secure a top four finish this season.

"Second place may now be out of reach as United have a five point advantage that may be hard to drag back, but does that mean the winners of the game yesterday are a better team.

"United may finish ahead of Liverpool this season, but I know which team I would pay to watch each week and they would not be managed by Mourinho."

Read John Aldridge every week in the Sunday World.

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