Liverpool vs Man Utd: Jurgen Klopp warns Ralf Rangnick’s side will ‘go for it’ in meeting of ‘world’s biggest clubs
Liverpool host Man Utd knowing a draw or win will take them to the top of the Premier League; visitors can go level on points with fourth-placed Tottenham; watch Liverpool vs Man Utd on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Premier League from 7pm; kick off at 8pm
Jurgen Klopp has warned his Liverpool side that Manchester United will “go for it” when they visit Anfield on Tuesday for a clash between “the world’s two biggest clubs”.
United will travel to their rivals on the back of a 3-2 win at home to Norwich on Saturday which, combined with surprise defeats for Tottenham and Arsenal at the weekend, puts them back in the hunt for a place in the top four of the Premier League.
While the main aim is securing a place in next season’s Champions League before Erik ten Hag’s expected arrival as manager in the summer, United will also be motivated to avenge their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool at Old Trafford in October in what turned out to be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s penultimate home game in charge.
And Klopp says the visitors will look to follow the win over Norwich with another positive result against his Liverpool side, who will go above Manchester City at the top of the table if they avoid defeat on Tuesday, live on Sky Sports.
“We have to be angry in a good way, greedy all these kind of things, like you are if you have won nothing and would be with nil points and it’s the most important three points in your life,” said Klopp.
“That’s the attitude we need for this game. If we let United do (what they want) they will cause us massive problems.
“It’s a big game, it’s a massive game – the two biggest clubs in the word, I would say,” added Klopp. “Maybe in Spain two will say differently, but two of the biggest clubs in the world, for sure.
“Massive history, big fights in the past – big fights since I’m here. We lost strange games against United, we took a while to win there. Some players had to learn to deal with it because of how much it means to them. But we should have learned – we’ve had enough time to do that.
“This time it’s an incredibly important game for both teams. Both teams are fighting for being in the Champions League next year – or more, we will see.
“United won their last game. They were not overly happy with the performance, but the results from other games opened the door again. That’s the Man Utd we will face – they will go for it and we have to make sure that, if they want to quality for the Champions League, they have to do it without our points. But an intense 95 minutes will have to be played.”
Klopp describes Rangnick relationship as ‘on hold’
Tuesday’s game will be the 14th time Klopp and Ralf Rangnick have gone head to head as managers, but the first time they have met outside of Germany.
The Liverpool boss praised the “incredible jobs” Rangnick has done throughout his career, but admitted it has been hard for his counterpart to “gain momentum” since he was appointed as interim manager in November.
Asked how he would describe his relationship with Rangnick – who he has beaten only twice in his career – Klopp simply said: “On hold.”
The Liverpool boss went on to add: “We haven’t had contact since he was at United. I think that’s just due to respect – I respect his job, he respects my job.
“I cannot make a Klopp-Rangnick game of it – I don’t want to. I respect him for everything what he did during his career – incredible jobs wherever he was. He took a difficult one at Man Utd obviously – big expectations and actually no time to get there because in our business it’s like this.
“I think Ralf tried to organise the team, bringing in a clear structure with the squad you have. United played some really good games but, because it’s United, even when you win the games it’s difficult to gain momentum.
“But they concede less goals. You can see the changes he made, the parts he improved. But when we prepared the game, I didn’t think about Ralf in that moment because you prepare for the team. It’s a very important football game but the managers probably will not score the decisive goal.”
Rangnick: Klopp ‘one of the best’ | ‘I know how he wants to play’
Meanwhile, Manchester United boss Ralf Rangnick has described Klopp as “one of the best” coaches in the world ahead of the clash at Anfield.
“Before [when] he came to Borussia Dortmund or started his coaching career at Mainz, he developed the club on a level, this is what modern management is all about.
“He’s one of the best, if not the best coach not only now the past couple of years. If this should be a role model, it’s no coincidence he came and they finished ninth, thereafter they made the necessary adaptations, they brought in the right players, built a squad and that’s why they are where they are.”
Ahead of the game at Anfield, Rangnick also praised the work of Liverpool, suggesting he knows all about their style having managed a number of the players in the current Liverpool squad. Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Joel Matip, Ibrahima Konate, Naby Keita and Takumi Minamino have all played under Rangnick, who said: “Jurgen has built that team over the last six-and-a-half years. Six or seven of those players used to be my – or our – players. We signed them for our clubs when nobody knew them and again it’s no coincidence that this is probably the club with the highest number of players from our former clubs. Their approach, their style of football, the way they want to play is pretty similar.”
And speaking to the press ahead of the game, Rangnick clarified his comments, saying: “I didn’t say how much influence I had on those players but it’s pretty obvious a big club like Liverpool, one of the best clubs in Europe, have six former players – it’s probably the highest number of players that nobody knew by the time we gave them debuts.
“This has got to do with a similar idea of football. Jurgen and me have known each other for a long time, I know how he wants to play, having six players from former clubs of mine is not a coincidence.”
‘We need to be aggressive’
Man Utd pulled themselves back into the race for the top four with a 3-2 victory over Norwich on Saturday, but Rangnick has called for more defensive improvement from his side as they look to shackle Liverpool’s free-scoring forwards – and he believes they have a chance of victory if they can raise their level.
“As I said after the [Norwich] game we need to be more compact, find a better balance of what we can do in possession of the ball, we need to be more aggressive, more on the front foot but make sure we have all the players behind the ball. This is what we need to show against one of the best teams in producing chances and creating moments.
“Around the box we need to be on our very best defensively but still have a formation and approach to the game that we can be dangerous ourselves.”
He said: “It’s up to us, we definitely will travel there tomorrow and try and get three points, this is what it’s all about, it’s about our situation. We are still in the race for fourth but to stay in it we have to win almost every game.
“We might be the underdogs for most people but if we raise our level we have a chance.”
Team news: Klopp decisions, five injured for Man Utd
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has a decision to make over which centre-back to pair with Virgil Van Dijk for the visit of Manchester United.
Ibrahima Konate has scored the opening goal in his last three matches, including in their Wembley FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City at the weekend when Joel Matip, preferred for the league game against their title rivals, was rested.
Forwards Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino could come into the team having been introduced as late substitutes at the weekend.
It was announced on Tuesday morning that Cristiano Ronaldo would not feature at Anfield for Manchester United after the death of his baby son.
Interim Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick remains without five injured players at Anfield. Fred and Scott McTominay remain absent, so too do Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw.
Raphael Varane did not train with the group on Monday but Bruno Fernandes was able to despite being involved in a car accident that morning.
Would any Man Utd players make combined XI with Liverpool?
England’s two most decorated teams meet at Anfield on Tuesday – but, given their current struggles, would any Manchester United player make a combined XI with players from this Liverpool side?
While Jurgen Klopp’s team are chasing an unprecedented quadruple and go into the match fresh from reaching their first FA Cup final in 10 years with an impressive 3-2 win over Premier League title rivals Manchester City at Wembley, United’s sole remaining target for the season is finishing in the top four.
United boosted their chances of grabbing a Champions League qualifying spot with a 3-2 win over Norwich on Saturday – but were far from convincing against the Premier League’s bottom club.
Speaking after the previous week’s defeat against another relegation-threatened side, Everton, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said none of the United players are ahead of their opposite numbers at Liverpool.