Liverpool host Manchester United this Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the Premier League leaders welcome their bitter rivals to Anfield.
This will be feisty, on and off the pitch, as United hope to put a spanner in the works of Liverpool’s procession towards the 2019-20 Premier League title.
These comments from Jurgen Klopp about Man United’s counter-attacking style of play could spice things up in the dugout too.
“It’s strange when you play against a high, high quality team as United still are, and they play the way they play,” Klopp said. “It makes life really difficult. We had it with Tottenham. That’s not normal, how can you expect that? On the other side the counter attacks are of the highest level in the world.
“I don’t say they only counter attack but it’s a main thing they do. People may want to see that as criticism, it’s not, but it’s just a description of the situation that makes life for us more difficult.”
With Liverpool 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League table, now is a good time for Klopp to tell other teams how they should be playing. That is what he is doing here.
Liverpool’s style is absorbing and easy on the eye. Their high-pressing and speedy attack sees them swarm over teams and totally involve their fans and it is fun to watch. Man United this weekend, and Spurs last weekend, know they can’t match Liverpool’s well-oiled, blood and thunder machine so they sit back and counter. And that can be almost as exciting when it’s right.
Can you blame opposing teams for playing this way against Liverpool? No. But what Klopp is trying to do here is suggest that the quality of players United and Spurs possess means they should be more ambitious and on the front foot rather than playing on the counter. What a rascal.
Klopp isn’t quite stirring things up but from a position of strength he is lending his view on the tactics of other teams and what he would do if he was in charge of them.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t change his plan against Liverpool. Everybody wants to play like Liverpool but Man United have a different style and that worked well to nullify Liverpool’s threat in their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford earlier this season. With Marcus Rashford a major doubt that will be tough to replicate on Sunday but as Klopp’s Liverpool go all out for the win, United will happy to sit back and counter.