Jürgen Klopp careful about injured Man United

Liverpool are top of the Premier League table after 16 matches – already 10 points ahead of Manchester United, in sixth.

Meanwhile Klopp has said he remains cautious of Manchester United despite the poor form of Liverpool’s bitter rivals as they prepare to lock horns at Anfield on Sunday.

United were humiliated 7-0 at Anfield in March in the biggest defeat for either side in the history of meetings between the clubs, who have won a combined 39 English top-flight titles.

United have lost 12 of their 24 games in all competitions in the current campaign and this week were dumped out of the Champions League at the group stage.

With the exception of last season’s 2-1 win at Old Trafford, United’s recent record against Liverpool is dire – they have lost four of the past five meetings, conceding 21 goals in the process.

But Klopp still remains wary of the old enemy and said last season’s humbling at Anfield could inspire Liverpool’s opponents.

“I never like it when the headlines about United are not great before we play because it’s like ‘OK, then it is the game where they can put everything right’,” he said.

“I don’t follow United closely enough to know exactly what the problem is there but I saw that Erik ten Hag became manager of the month last month and saw they were the team in form results-wise in the last month so how can it be all wrong?

“I just don’t understand it. The 7-0, we knew that day it was a freak result that happens once in a lifetime. If it helps anybody for the next game it is the team who lost 7-0 and not the team who won 7-0.”

The German said inflicting more pain on Liverpool’s long-time adversary was not a motivating factor.

“If you take it all out of consideration and just play a football game against the historical rival of Liverpool at home at Anfield, that itself must make it a special game and that’s what I want to see from us, a special game,” he added.

“It is a home game. It is for the people. We know what it means. No one would expect us not to care. We care a lot (but) we cannot go nuts before the game already.”

Ten Hag says misfiring United can show they have learned from last season’s 7-0 humbling at Liverpool, insisting the future is bright for his beleaguered club. “It is a great place to go,” the Dutchman said.

“We know it is going to be tough, but I think every top footballer wants to have that challenge. Last year we take that in our memory but you also have to take the benefit from it, learn from it and on Sunday we can prove that.”

Ten Hag said the match at Anfield, where Liverpool have won every league match this season, would be a “new game”.

“We go there and we will be confident from the start to the end,” he said.

“We have to fight there, we have to challenge there.”

Last week they were embarrassed 3-0 at home by Bournemouth and on Tuesday they crashed out of the Champions League after finishing bottom of their group. But Ten Hag said he was upbeat about the future.

“The future for Manchester United is very good if you see how many good players we have in the squad, how many good young players we have in the squad who have really high potential to play at the top level worldwide but we have to develop that,” he said. “I’m sure when the players return from injury this team will perform better.”

United’s dire campaign has heaped the pressure on Ten Hag himself, who has worked against a background of uncertainty as the wait goes on for confirmation of British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe’s partial takeover. But the Dutch manager said he has the backing of the Old Trafford hierarchy.

United captain Bruno Fernandes faced particular criticism after March’s Anfield annihilation and will miss Sunday’s match after collecting a fifth booking of the season for dissent.
Fernandes joins a long list of absentees, including injured players Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Tyrell Malacia.



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