Man Utd: Solskjaer previews Liverpool trip in Premier League
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has insisted he is no Sir Alex Ferguson and that he has not been trying to play mind games ahead of Sunday’s game against Manchester United. Klopp brought up the number of penalties United have been awarded recently following his side’s 1-0 defeat by Southampton on December 4.
The German manager has been accused of playing mind games ahead of Sunday’s top-of-the-table Premier League clash with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
United have been awarded 20 penalties since the start of the season – twice as many as Liverpool – while they have also benefited from 67 to the Reds’ 46 since Klopp took over in October 2015.
Klopp’s comments have been interpreted by former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg as the Liverpool manager inciting the sort of war of words legendary United boss Ferguson became famous for – something Klopp has rejected.
“When people like Mr Clattenburg speak now it says much more about them than it does about me. I have no skills for playing mind games, that is my problem,” he said.
“Am I surprised someone is talking about what I have said? Clattenburg? No. It’s nice we can talk about him. I am not Sir Alex for different reasons.”
Klopp may not be using the tactic to unsettle this weekend’s opponents, but plenty of his predecessors on United’s side of the rivalry have done.
Ahead of Sunday’s big game, here are three times that such tactics have backfired in previous meetings of Liverpool and Manchester United.
Sir Alex Ferguson was known for his mind games ahead of big matches
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, August 11, 2001:
“A defeat is a defeat and we don’t like losing but in terms of winning the Charity Shield it’s not going to influence the kind of season you have,” he said.
“We use the Charity Shield as a way to get that fitness we need, this game will bring us on to where we want to be next Sunday against Fulham, we’ve always used it in that way.
“We’re not 100% now, but Liverpool probably are because they’ve played in competitive situations already.
“They played Bayern Leverkusen and also had that tournament in Amsterdam so they’ll be a step ahead of us in terms of sharpness.”
August 12, 2001: Liverpool 2-1 Manchester United
First-half goals from Gary McAllister and Michael Owen helped Gerard Houllier’s FA Cup-winning side beat United’s Premier League winners at the Millenium Stadium.
New signing Ruud van Nistelrooy got his first United goal, but Ferguson’s side suffered a fourth straight defeat in the season-opening fixture. Ferguson was angry at referee Andy D’Urso, who turned down to penalty appeals from his team.
Rooney’s words in 2009 backfired against Liverpool
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney, March 13, 2009:
“I’m very excited about the match,” he said. “I grew up an Everton fan, my whole family are Everton fans and I grew up hating Liverpool – and that hasn’t changed.
“Liverpool know that coming to Old Trafford is going to be a difficult game for them. They know they need to win. If we beat them I think it will end their chances of winning the league. We are in pole position anyway but there is still Chelsea plugging away, so we have to keep playing and keep focused.
“Liverpool have put up a great challenge this season but it would be nice if we could end it at our place. That would be great for everybody at Old Trafford and especially me.”
March 14: Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool
United’s run of 11 straight Premier League wins came to an abrupt halt at Old Trafford as Fernando Torres ran riot to inflict United’s heaviest home defeat in 17 years.
Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring from the penalty spot, but Torres and Steven Gerrard put Liverpool 2-1 up before Nemanja Vidic was sent off. Fabio Aurelio curled in a free-kick before Andrea Dossena lobbed Edwin van der Sar to complete United’s misery.
Remarkably, United lost their next game 4-0 to Fulham – the first time in five years they had lost back-to-back games – but then went unbeaten for the rest of the season to win the title.
Mourinho’s United went 19 points behind Liverpool after a 3-1 loss in 2018
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, December 14, 2018:
“I think trophies matter, especially when you have the potential to fight for trophies. When you have the potential you have nothing to hide. I think Jurgen said already that they want to win the EPL,” he said.
“Maybe this season, finally you demand that they win. I think you have to be fair and now you have to demand [Liverpool win the league].
“You have to say the team, with the investments you are making last season, that you made in January, that you make now, because that will probably be the record for the Premier League this season, I can’t see anyone else getting close to spending what they have.”
December 16: Liverpool 3-1 Manchester United
After Sadio Mane and Jesse Lingard traded goals, Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench to score twice in seven minutes at Anfield and send Jurgen Klopp’s side back to the top of the Premier League table – and 19 points clear of United.
“The strongest team won,” Mourinho conceded after the match in which Liverpool had 36 shots to his side’s six.
Liverpool ultimately ended the season a point short of champions Manchester City, but they wouldn’t have to wait much longer for the Premier League trophy.