Klopp slams Jose over ‘long ball’ tac­tics

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - Mean­while, West Ham United cap­tain Mark No­ble ad­mits he is frus­trated with mid­fielder Dim­itri Payet’s re­fusal to play for the club in or­der to force through a move dur­ing the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow. Man­ager Slaven Bilic went pub­lic about Payet’s de­sire

LIVER­POOL: Juer­gen Klopp feels Liver­pool were un­lucky to come away with a point from Sun­day’s 1-1 Premier League draw with Manch­ester United, the man­ager claim­ing the home side were saved by “long ball” tac­tics.

The vis­i­tors led courtesy a firsthalf penalty from James Mil­ner and with United strug­gling to break­down a res­o­lute Liver­pool de­fence, Jose Mour­inho brought on Marouane Fel­laini and opted for a more di­rect route to goal.

The change in tac­tics worked as United sprayed a bar­rage of long balls into Liver­pool’s penalty area in the fi­nal 10 min­utes and fi­nally scored the equaliser late on as Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic pounced on a An­to­nio Va­len­cia cross.

“We were the bet­ter side. They play long balls in a wild game. We played the bet­ter foot­ball and had the bet­ter plan,” Klopp said.

“In the end pe­riod of the game when United started play­ing long balls af­ter 80 min­utes high in­tense foot­ball it is re­ally hard,” Klopp added.

“Usu­ally you can ac­cept a draw at Manch­ester United but I think af­ter the en­tire 98 min­utes we could have de­served a win.”

The draw put Liver­pool third in the league, seven points be­hind Chelsea af­ter 21 games, while sixth-placed United lost ground in the battle for the Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing spots.

United next travel to Stoke City for a league game on Satur­day, while Liver­pool make the trip to face fourth-tier side Ply­mouth Ar­gyle in an FA Cup third round re­play to­mor­row.

“I had – and I say had be­cause I haven’t re­ally spo­ken to him for the last two or three weeks – a great re­la­tion­ship with him, but I don’t know his rea­sons,” No­ble added.

“I am not go­ing to com­ment on why he wanted to leave but I do know that if some­one doesn’t want to play for the team then they are bet­ter off not even play­ing.”

No­ble also heaped praised on Bilic for han­dling the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion in the right man­ner.

“I thought the man­ager was right in what he did be­cause it is hard. You have to win games and if you have your best player who doesn’t want to play for you then ob­vi­ously he has had to do some­thing about it,” the 29-year-old said. – Reuters

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