How would you define the rivalry between the fans of Manchester United and Liverpool

By February 07, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Klopp ponders PSG's Manchester United blueprint Klopp ponders PSG's Manchester United blueprint

    Liverpool will attempt to become the second team to beat Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on Sunday following Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League victory at Old Trafford.

    A composed 2-0 win, featuring goals from Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe for the Ligue 1 giants, won the admiration of Jurgen Klopp.

    But the Liverpool boss is unsure to what extent the circumstances of that game can be replicated after United were derailed mid-match by injuries to influential attackers Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial – both of whom are in line to return as Klopp's men aim to avoid defeat and return to the top of the Premier League.

    "Result-wise [PSG] were the only team, but Tottenham played a pretty good game against United to be honest," he told a news conference, referencing United's 1-0 win at Wembley where goalkeeper David de Gea excelled.

    "PSG were pretty cool with the ball, passed a lot, they were really confident, good positioning, passing through the lines and scoring in the right moment."

    United returned to winning ways with a superb 2-0 triumph at Chelsea in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Monday.

    Klopp felt that showed how much the injuries to Lingard and Martial hindered Solskjaer when he was forced into changes on the run, in contrast to the smoothly operating game plan he put together for the trip to Stamford Bridge.

    “You saw against Chelsea that United could play pretty well without Lingard and Martial. That was a proper line-up with [Juan] Mata and [Romelu] Lukaku coming in.

    "But changing in the game is different and you cannot really adapt. They played the last six or seven games before that with the same line-up and then they had to adapt in 15 minutes, and it didn't really work out.

    "PSG used that, it was a bit of luck for PSG but they played a really good game. They were very demanding, looked in charge in most situations and didn't give a lot of counter-attacks away, which is a very big thing against United.

    "Whichever line-up they have, whoever they play will attack quickly on the offensive wings. You need to be 100 per cent concentrated, and PSG did well, scored good goals in the right moments and that always helps in football."

    Klopp will welcome back Virgil van Dijk after his star centre-back sat out Tuesday's 0-0 draw at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League through suspension.

    Fellow defenders Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez remain sidelined, but the former Borussia Dortmund boss reported fitness concerns are decreasing elsewhere in his squad ahead of a pivotal period in the season.

    "Dejan is not in, Joe is not in, and I think pretty much all the rest are in training," he added.

    "Rhian Brewster is only in little parts, Ox [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] is in bigger parts but not ready to play. The rest should be.

    "Usually now I get a message that somebody is ill, so I am a bit nervous about that, but until now I didn't hear anything!"

  • No doubt Solskjaer will get United job - Klopp No doubt Solskjaer will get United job - Klopp

    Jurgen Klopp feels it is "not possible" for Manchester United to appoint anyone but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as their next manager.

    Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on Sunday aiming to return to the top of the Premier League, but will face a United side revitalised under Solskjaer.

    Defeat at Anfield in December proved the final act of Jose Mourinho's tenure and the Red Devils have won 11 games out of 13 in all competitions under caretaker boss Solskjaer.

    Following such a scintillating run of form, which has fired United into the FA Cup quarter-finals and right back into the fight for a top-four finish in the Premier League, Klopp believes any alternative long-term appointment would be on a hiding to nothing.

    "Now there is no doubt that he will be the manager next year as well," he told a pre-match news conference.

    "Can you imagine a situation where they bring in a new manager and the new manager loses one game? That is, of course, not possible.

    "He deserves that 100 per cent. He done everything that you have to do to be successful with them."

    Klopp was keen to stress he meant no disrespect to Mourinho when observing United made a necessary change after a humbling loss on Merseyside.

    "The way they play is obviously different now," he said. "You will probably make a story of it that it sounds like [being] disrespectful to Jose Mourinho and there is no need for that because he is an outstanding manager.

    "It looked like, in the end, they had a difficult time together and they found a solution for them, how they want to improve that situation and it obviously worked out.

    "Since Ole was there, pretty much everything has changed."

    One change that certainly has not escaped Klopp's attention is Paul Pogba's stunning return to form.

    "We see the Pogba that Manchester United signed a couple of years ago. The guy is in outstanding shape," he said.

    "All the offensive players who were there, they were good before but they are full of confidence and use all their potential. It makes a big difference.

    "That's how it is. Sometimes you need to make changes and often in football it's the manager. Sometimes it helps and in this case obviously it helped.

    "It's a different side, a different style but it's still United. They have all different ways in their tool box to get results.

    "They can defend deep, they can use high pressure in different moments. All that stuff is there, it's all good."

    Klopp sees parallels between his own move from Mainz for a defining spell at Borussia Dortmund and Solskjaer's switch from Molde in his native Norway to prove his credentials in elite-level coaching.

    "Of course, he has shown he belongs at this level, it's clear. We all need luck in our managerial career," he added.

    "When I went from Mainz to Dortmund people said I had no international experience.

    "It was true but it's not something you can buy, you have to make it. If Ole is not a former player of Manchester United he would not get the move from Norway, that's clear.

    "But if you get the chance you have to use it. He's shown everything that you need together with his coaches. They made a few smart decisions and it worked out."

    "I am really happy for him that he got the opportunity to show his quality. It's not the best news for us, obviously. For all Man United fans, it's obviously brilliant."

  • Solskjaer: United must keep emotions in check against Liverpool Solskjaer: United must keep emotions in check against Liverpool

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has called on Manchester United to deliver a "controlled" performance against Liverpool in a fixture he knows well.

    United's interim boss scored a famous winner against Liverpool in 1999 in an FA Cup tie at Old Trafford, and he will now hope to guide the Red Devils past a side that defeated them 3-1 in Jose Mourinho's last game in charge.

    But while understanding the enormity of the match for all involved, Solskjaer is keen not to get too caught up in the emotion of the occasion.

    "I've played a few of these myself so I know the magnitude of it for the fans, for everyone who works here, for the staff," he told a news conference.

    "There have been many comments about how this is the big one, on to this one, looking forward to this one. It's our job to be focusing and channelling all of that energy into performance mode when we start the game on Sunday.

    "It's not about emotions. I understand that emotion can be brought into it, but we have to stay focused and controlled - with some fight in us, as well."

    Much of the focus is on Liverpool's Premier League title bid, but Solskjaer insists it is a massive game for his side too.

    "For them, it's a big game. For us, it's a big game," he said. "We want to be among the top four and we're playing Liverpool. We know how big that game is for Man United.

    "We're just looking forward to another challenge for this team, because we want to build this team to be worthy of Manchester United's history and it's another step if we can do that at home, after Tottenham away, Arsenal away, Chelsea away, where it was fantastic to win those three."

    And the United boss claims to have little interest in the title race, where rivals Liverpool and Manchester City are battling for top spot.

    "I'm not really focusing on the [other] teams and what they're doing," he said. "I'm focusing on us and what we have to do to get to where we want to be.

    "It's a three-horse race at the top and a three-horse race for the fourth position. That's my focus and, of course, this game."

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