Jurgen Klopp has described derby matches as “the salt in the soup” as he prepares to face Manchester United for the first time as Liverpool manager.
One of the Premier League’s fiercest rivalries resumes on Sunday as Louis van Gaal’s United – who beat Liverpool 3-1 at Old Trafford in September – aim to make it seven wins from their last nine league meetings with the Merseyside club.
Klopp, who celebrated 100 days in charge at Anfield on Friday, has won 10 of his 21 games at Liverpool so far, and is relishing the prospect of locking horns with their biggest rivals.
“I love derbies. It’s the salt in the soup. They are the best matches to perform,” he said on Friday.
Klopp was delighted with the battling display his side produced in their 3-3 draw with Arsenal earlier this week but has warned that work rate alone will not be enough against United.
“You will not win against Man United because you ran 145 miles or something. You have to make the right decisions,” he added.
United also drew 3-3 in their last outing in a thriller at Newcastle United, a game in which they twice squandered the lead before being forced to settle for a single point.
The display was met with approval by many fans and pundits who had been clamouring for Van Gaal to adopt a more attacking approach, but the United boss was more concerned that two points had been allowed to slip away.
“I think I was more disappointed than the fans. I had a lot of support on the street but I said to them, we lost two points, which is very important in this period,” he said.
“In the circumstance of that game, you have to win. We were disappointed but of course the fans have seen a match where we scored three goals, which was a long time ago!
“I think everybody is ready to play this game but you have to do it at the right time, at a different schedule, five past two. In those 90 or 95 minutes we have to show it.”
Van Gaal confirmed that Michael Carrick will miss the trip to Anfield, along with Antonio Valencia, Phil Jones (both ankle), Luke Shaw (leg) and Marcos Rojo (shoulder). Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee) is a major doubt.
Liverpool could hand a league debut to loanee Steven Caulker, who was drafted in from QPR to ease the defensive crisis which sees Dejan Lovren, Martin Skrtel (both hamstring) and Joe Gomez (knee) sidelined.
Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi (all hamstring) are still out, while Jon Flanagan not expected to be fit after the full-back only recently returned to Under-21 action after a lengthy injury absence.
United won at Anfield courtesy of a Juan Mata double in this fixture last season and have now beaten their fierce rivals in their last three Premier League matches.
However, Van Gaal’s team have won only one of their last eight league fixtures, and sit just three points above Liverpool in the table.
Key Opta Stats:
– Only Everton v Liverpool (20) has seen more red cards than this fixture in Premier League history (16).
– Van Gaal inflicted Klopp’s biggest defeat as Borussia Dortmund manager in September 2009 when his Bayern Munich side won 5-1 at Signal Iduna Park.
– Liverpool have lost 11 times at home to Manchester United, more defeats than against any other visitor in the Premier League era.
– Wayne Rooney (175 goals for United) is now level with Thierry Henry (175 for Arsenal) for the most goals for a single club in Premier League history.
– Christian Benteke has scored in his last three Premier League appearances against United, but has lost two and drawn one of these three games.
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