Juergen Klopp’s strop over Man United's spot-kicks: Richard Buxton
Reds boss' rant on United's penalties opens wounds ahead of Monday's meeting
Juergen Klopp's spot-kick strop aimed at Manchester United yesterday morning (Singapore time) sounded an awful lot like predecessor Rafael Benitez's infamous "facts" rant in 2009.
Considering how that episode was deemed to have aided the Red Devils' eventual title win, Old Trafford will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around.
Clumsy words helped dissuade Klopp from taking the reins of Liverpool's arch-rivals, with a sales pitch about the 20-time English champions being "like an adult version of Disneyland". But muddled phraseology has now gifted United an unlikely advantage.
Before yesterday morning (Singapore time), Klopp maintained an upper hand in the English Premier League title race, despite his side's 1-0 defeat at Southampton heralding a winless three-game run.
United's emergence from left field in this season's battle for the crown, however, has stirred a dormant antagonism in the Reds, which heightens their motivation to reclaim it.
Klopp channelled his inner Benitez by claiming United have won more EPL penalties in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's two years than he has at Anfield since 2015.
A cursory glance at the statistics suggests the Liverpool manager failed to heed the warnings of history and Benitez's botched attempt to get under Ferguson's thick skin.
To date, United have won 27 spot kicks in 75 matches under Solskjaer while Klopp's own players have benefited from that same situation in 30 of 199 top-flight outings.
The statistic the German should have trotted out is that under him, the Reds average a penalty once every seven EPL games, while under Solskjaer, United earn one every three matches.
Citing "facts" unprovoked in a diatribe about referees became Benitez's undoing over a decade ago, when United ultimately pipped Liverpool to the title by just four points.
In the aftermath of the Spaniard's infamous "facts" press conference during the 2008/09 campaign, Liverpool dropped five more points than United, despite emphatically beating them 4-1 at the Theatre of Dreams.
Yet it was still not enough because their manager massively overplayed his hand.
This time around, the battle for supremacy will be less intense and the defending champions' recent drop-off has led to the needless reopening of past war wounds.
Klopp has nothing to prove to Solskjaer, whose achievements in management in England amount to securing a Champions League qualification place and relegating Cardiff City.
But borrowing from Benitez's playbook with attempted misdirection indicates concerns closer to home are less pressing than those at United.
United potentially winning their game in hand against Burnley next week - and enjoying a first mid-season stint at the summit since Ferguson hung up his hairdryer - may not set alarm bells ringing within Anfield's corridors of power as it once did at the Scot's peak.
As Klopp knows from personal experience, actual trophies will not be meted out to those that top the EPL table at any point other than the close of play on May 23.
If Liverpool are to cling to power on that day of reckoning, fixing problems beyond a halted momentum are imperative - not least in an attack more fearful than fearsome. Against the Saints and Newcastle United before them, the "red arrows" were truly blunted.
Next Monday morning's top-of-the-table showdown could not have arrived at a worse possible moment as Klopp faces a race against time to put his house in some meaningful order.