Liver­pool’s Klopp wary of much im­proved United

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - FRONT PAGE -

Liver­pool boss Juer­gen Klopp be­lieves Manch­ester United have im­proved a lot since the teams last met and is keep­ing an open mind about how Jose Mour­inho’s side will set up when they visit An­field in the Pre­mier League Satur­day.

United’s last trip to Liver­pool ended in a score­less stale­mate, with Mour­inho’s men sit­ting deep for most of the con­test while look­ing to hurt Liver­pool with long balls over the top to Swedish striker Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic.

Liver­pool’s visit to Old Traf­ford in the re­verse fix­ture ended in another draw, this time 1-1, as United looked once again to sti­fle their op­po­nents, but Klopp knows they have more ways to hurt his team this time around.

“Jose Mour­inho’s teams play like they have to play in dif­fer­ent mo­ments,” the Ger­man told re­porters Fri­day.

“In this mo­ment of course they are in a much bet­ter sit­u­a­tion than they were last year when we played them, but we can­not think too much about it.

“We know how Manch­ester United is play­ing. Fan­tas­tic play­ers in­volved in the team and we know about the qual­i­ties of [Romelu] Lukaku, [Mar­cus] Rash­ford, [Hen­rikh] Mkhi­taryan, [Juan] Mata, all these guys.”

United have been run­ning riot over the op­po­si­tion this sea­son, with Lukaku’s raw power well com­ple­mented by Mkhi­taryan plus Rash­ford’s pace and Mata’s guile.

Mour­inho’s men are sec­ond in the ta­ble, be­hind Manch­ester City on goal dif­fer­ence, with both teams un­beaten af­ter seven league games with one draw each. Liver­pool are sev­enth, with three wins, three draws and one de­feat so far.

“Against us [United] played often, pretty early, long. Had al­ways a tar­get player,” Klopp added. “Last year Ibrahi­movic, this year Lukaku. We need to be ready ... but they don’t do that all the time.

“They also build up sit­u­a­tions where they try to come be­tween the lines. When they try to use Mkhi­taryan with small passes and then he can use his speed or Rash­ford can use his speed or Lukaku can stretch the for­ma­tion.

“Or Mata with all the lit­tle move­ments and then mak­ing the big dif­fer­ence with the next pass. So ob­vi­ously the op­po­nent has big qual­ity ... but we’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to it. It’s one of the most spe­cial games in world foot­ball.”

Klopp will miss pacy for­ward Sa­dio Mane, who is out for six weeks with a ham­string in­jury picked up play­ing for Sene­gal, but he is con­fi­dent Liver­pool can cope.

“Thank God that ob­vi­ously we can still play foot­ball with­out Sa­dio, be­cause al­ready we’ve had to do this a lot of times – much more often than we wanted,” he said. “It was very un­lucky with the in­jury.”

The last meet­ing be­tween Klopp’s and Mour­inho’s sides ended in a draw.

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