United just defend when they play us, says manager
Jurgen Klopp insisted that Manchester United adopt a defensive attitude to playing Liverpool in an argument that left rival manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unimpressed.
The Liverpool manager saw his unbeaten leaders held to a 1-1 draw before declaring: “Why should it frustrate me? I am not the person to be frustrated, it is just a fact when we come here, last year, this year, the year before, they just defend.
“No excuses, we expected to do better but you cannot play against each team like this, like they did. We don’t have to say it is a compliment, it is just we are a good team and it is normal people think how can they stop us.
“In the first half, we stopped ourselves but United defended really well and they had the speed. So no criticism of United.”
Solskjaer had little sympathy. “We set the team up to attack and be aggressive and create chances and we did that,” he said.
One thing that clearly did frustrate the Liverpool manager was the way in which referee Martin Atkinson allowed play to continue in the build-up to Marcus Rashford’s opening goal, despite Victor Lindelof appearing to have made contact with Divock Origi in winning the ball. Klopp claimed that the official only let the play continue because he believed VAR would correct any mistake he made – something the system is not designed to allow unless the error is clear and obvious.
“I calmed everybody down on the bench because I saw immediately Mr Atkinson, he immediately showed VAR,” said Klopp. “He was checking and I was 100 per cent sure that VAR would overrule it, but obviously you have a problem.
“So the ref let the game run because he has VAR but the VAR says it was not clear, so he could say it was not a foul. It is a clear VAR issue with how we deal with it in the moment. I am not angry, I saw it as a clear foul. I’m sure Mr Atkinson, if there was not VAR involved, would have given it but [he didn’t] because VAR was involved.”
United were good value for the point, even if Solskjaer is now presiding over his team’s worst start to a league season since 1986-87.
“I’m disappointed we can’t sit here and talk about a win but, of course, the performance is very positive,” said Solskjaer.
Frustration: Jurgen Klopp says United go on the defensive against Liverpool