Football

'Fewer managers can do this job better'

Under-pressure Klopp insists he's the right man for Liverpool

LIVERPOOL MAN UNITED

Liverpool take on high-flying Manchester United at Anfield tonight on the back of just one win in seven matches in all competitions.

Juergen Klopp is under pressure, but he delivered a robust defence of his first two years at Liverpool, insisting that the Reds are on an upward curve.

Asked about the two-year anniversary of his Anfield reign, Klopp said yesterday: "Actually, it wasn't a big party. I didn't immediately open a bottle of champagne.

"For me, it's been a wonderful time and I've enjoyed each second.

"Is it a difficult job? Yes. Are we where we could be? Not sure.

"Did we do really well last year? Yes. Have we done better this year? Yes. But we didn't get the results so far.

"Does that mean I should stop? No. We had to improve to be in the situation we're in now.

"There's not the biggest distance between us and the top teams.

"If I came in today as the new manager and, if everybody would give us this kind of time to take the next step, that would be perfect.

"If they sacked me now, I don't think a lot of managers would do the job better than I do. I'm not perfect, but it's quite difficult to find better options.

"I still think that as long as 98 per cent of Liverpudlians think that we are on the right way then we will succeed. That's how it is.

"The good old times when one team dominated the league for 20 years won't come back.

"Our job is to work in this moment and fight with all we've got for each point.

"I feel like we're in the middle of everything. There's still a long way to go. I am calm and cool with all the things we still have to do."

Klopp wants Liverpool to use the "power of Anfield" as they seek to end United's unbeaten start to the campaign.

"We are in a really good moment, not results wise but performances haven't been as bad as some people think," the German added.

"It's Anfield, it's our stadium, the first game with the Kenny Dalglish Stand and we want to use all the power we can get."

Klopp also took a dig at Jose Mourinho's tactics ahead of tonight's clash.

The two clashed in both their meetings in the league last season, with each game ending in a draw.

Klopp suggested at the time that he was not impressed by United's tactics, particularly in the 0-0 draw at Anfield when they barely seemed to attempt to create any chances themselves.

Liverpool, by contrast, dominated that game and were unlucky not to win on the day, and that may be fresh in Klopp's memory judging from his comments in his press conference yesterday.

Speaking about the threat of United, the German said he expected "long balls" from Mourinho's men at Anfield.

"United will play long balls early,' he said. "Last season, it was Ibra (Zlatan Ibrahimovic), this season (Romelu) Lukaku. But they have big quality, too.'

Klopp suffered a major blow over the international break with the loss of forward Sadio Mane for up to six weeks with a hamstring injury sustained in Senegal's 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Cape Verde.

Although unhappy with the unavailability of the former Southampton star - who has scored three goals in four league encounters - Klopp is confident of filling the void he left behind.

"Obviously we can still play football without Sadio as we have had to do this in the past - much more than we would have wanted," said Klopp.

"He is the highest-quality player and was very unlucky with injury.

"We can play without him even if we would love to have him in the line-up." - WIRE SERVICES

Big six clubs' records against each other

LIVERPOOL

P20 W9 D9 L2 Pts 36 (win percentage - 45)

CHELSEA

P21 W7 D7 L7 Pts 28 (win percentage - 33)

TOTTENHAM

P19 W6 D9 L4 Pts 27 (win percentage - 32)

MAN UNITED

P17 W5 D7 L5 Pts 22 (win percentage - 29)

MAN CITY

P20 W5 D6 L9 Pts 21 (win percentage - 25)

ARSENAL

P19 W3 D8 L8 Pts 17 (win percentage - 16)