Klopp wary of Man United amid talk of poor form

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he is not underestimating Sunday’s opponents Manchester United despite their recent struggles, adding that his side’s 7-0 win over United last season was a “freak result.”

Liverpool are riding high on confidence after a stoppage time win over Crystal Palace in their last Premier League outing that took them top of the league table. The 2-1 loss to Tottenham in September is the only time Klopp’s side have tasted defeat this season.

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Their fortunes contrast Man United’s, who followed up a 3-0 loss to Bournemouth last Saturday with a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, that saw them crash out of Europe. Erik ten Hag’s side lie sixth on the table, 10 points behind Liverpool. But, Klopp remains wary of the threat United could pose on Sunday.

“I never like when the headlines are about United not being great before we play because it’s like, ‘OK, then this is the game where they can put everything right’,” Klopp said in his news conference ahead of the game.

“I don’t follow United closely enough to know exactly what the problem is there, but I saw Erik ten Hag was manager of the month last month. I saw they were the team in form so how can it be all wrong? I just don’t understand it.

“We knew that day that the 7-0 was a freak result that happens once in a lifetime. If it helps anybody for the next game, then it is the team who lost 7-0, not the team who won 7-0.

“If you take it all out of consideration then we just play a football game against the rival, the historical rival, of Liverpool FC, at home at Anfield. That itself must make it a special game and that’s what I want to see from us — a special game.”

The occassion will be enhanced by the fact that it will be played in front of the largest crowd in Anfield’s history since 1973. The partial opening of the expanded Anfield Road Stand, which was officially sanctioned by the Liverpool City Council on Monday following a safety test, will see the stadium’s capacity rise to 57,000.

Liverpool now enter a busy period of winter fixtures, with a Carabao Cup quarterfinal against West Ham next Wednesday followed by Arsenal‘s visit on Dec. 23, an away clash at Burnley three days later on Boxing Day and then a clash with Newcastle United on New Years day.

Klopp said his new-look Liverpool side have shown their quality “in moments” this season but believes this December period will be a true test of their character.

“We never had a December together, let me say it like that, and a December in English football is the toughest month ever. And that’s where we now have to show how far we are with that,” he said.

“I’m not sure what the other schedules are but that is the worst you can get and that is why we made the changes tonight. From now on they are all finals. That is how it is.”

Liverpool lost 2-1 to Union St.-Gilloise on Thursday in their last Europa League group stage game but still finished top of their group.

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