Football

War of words between Klopp and Mourinho

Klopp hits out at United's long-ball tactics, Mourinho disses Liverpool's defensive approach

Juergen Klopp cut a frustrated figure after claiming Manchester United's long-ball tactics cost Liverpool three points in a "wild" match yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Unlike October's drab, goalless draw at Anfield, the 50th Premier League meeting of the bitter rivals lived up to the billing in terms of entertainment and energy at Old Trafford.

Liverpool looked set to give the hosts a bloody nose as James Milner fired home a first-half penalty after Paul Pogba, whose Twitter hashtag was advertised around the pitch, handled a corner in the box.

However, the world's most expensive player's blushes were saved by fellow big-name summer acquisition Zlatan Ibrahimovic heading home six minutes from time to secure a 1-1 draw.

Klopp was naturally frustrated to have conceded a late equaliser, which the Liverpool boss believes was borne out of United's direct style that ended up with the ball spending "25 minutes in the air".

"We needed to be brave, we created the spaces we wanted, we scored the goal," Klopp told BBC Sport.

"In the end period of the game when United started playing long balls - (to) Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic - after 80 minutes (of) high intense football, it is really hard.

"I hoped we would have a bit of luck, unfortunately not, but all good. Tomorrow, I can enjoy the result but, tonight, only the performance.

"It is so intense. They play long balls, it was a wild game. There was a lot of action in the last few minutes.

"We were here to win the game, which is why we are not 100 per cent satisfied."

Jose Mourinho, on the other hand, claimed that Liverpool only "wanted to defend".

"It was entertaining, I have to agree, but it was not high quality," the United boss told Sky Sports.

"Both teams can do much better than we did in terms of quality. But it was entertaining because we created chances to be in front.

"They defended well and it was good to see they can play well defensively.

"We changed our way of play because Liverpool pressed very well. We went for a more direct approach and caused problems.

"We were the team who attacked, Liverpool were the ones who defended.

"We deserved more, but the point is something we have to accept.

"They stopped our consecutive run of wins, but they didn't end our run without defeat."

United's final substitution saw Mourinho introduce Fellaini ahead of Marcus Rashford and the Belgian played a key role in the equaliser.

Mourinho explained that his decision to put Fellaini on instead of the 19-year-old attacker came down to Liverpool's swelled numbers at the back and his desire to change to a more route-one approach.

"The people need to know what Marouane Fellaini is great at and what he is not so good at," he said to BBC Radio 5 Live.

"Marouane is very good in some aspects. I was looking to the pitch and only saw yellow shirts in the box.

"I thought it's difficult to penetrate, so I thought we should go direct.

"If we had a few more minutes, we would have done it (win)." - WIRE SERVICES

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