Thursday, January 19, 2017

Klopp: We know how United will play

Manchester United should provide a challenge Liverpool can meet in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash, according to Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool were dominant as they secured a 2-0 win on home turf in last week’s opening encounter, thanks to a Daniel Sturridge penalty and Roberto Firmino’s second-half strike.

Klopp wants his players to be brave enough to carry out their gameplan once more and secure a famous triumph over bitter rivals United.

“I am an optimistic guy. We know that we know how to play them,” he told a pre-match news conference. “But we have to work for this. We need to be brave and aggressive.

“You have to stay cool. You have to take your plan and see it through. We have to do things in the right way.

“It’s football and the ball is round – right? I am not scared, I am not afraid.

“We made our position better with the result in the first leg but it’s not a holiday tomorrow.

“We know about the job we have to do. It’s difficult of course, but the circumstances are different. I can hear it in your questions. You all ask whether United can strike back.

“We are 2-0 in the lead, but that is only one thing. We have to forget this and play again. It’s a football game. I am really excited.

“There are a lot of things we don’t know. Maybe United take maximum risk from the first second, but Louis van Gaal is very experienced. He will have a plan.”

United negotiated an exemption from UEFA rules to stay overnight in their preferred Manchester pre-match hotel before making the short journey to Liverpool last Thursday, but Klopp was keen to train at Old Trafford on the eve of the second leg and experience the contest as a traditional European away game.

“We wanted the full package so we came here to train [and] stay,” he said. “We are prepared.

“I enjoy to breathe the stadium the night before the game. There was no way we weren’t going to take the opportunity to train here.

“I am really looking forward to it. It’s one of best things in football to play Man United, especially when you are manager of Liverpool.”

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