Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has paid little attention to Manchester United’s current troubles and believes the fact his side were one of the first to expose their weaknesses is of little relevance ahead of Sunday’s encounter.
Erik ten Hag’s side were humiliated 7-0 at Anfield by their arch-rivals in March in the largest defeat for either side in the clubs’ 211-match history as United crumbled in conceding three times in a seven-minute spell either side of half-time, shipping a further four in 22 minutes late on as the hosts ran riot.
Those deficiencies have been exploited by a number of other teams this season, though not quite to the same extent, with United having lost half of their 24 matches in all competitions to ramp up the pressure on Ten Hag.
But Klopp still remains wary of the old enemy, saying: “I never like when the headlines about United are not great before we play because it’s like ‘OK, then it is the game where they can put everything right’.
“The more bad things people say about them, the stronger they will show up. That is always the case. I don’t like that.
“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 and saw they were the team in form in the last month so how can it be all wrong? I just don’t understand it.
“The situation with Man United – and don’t get me wrong – it’s just not important for us as we just prepare for our team.
“I try to understand the situation of the opponent before a game, I really do, because I think it is important to know why they are motivated and want to put things right and sometimes I tell the players (his opinions) and sometimes I don’t tell the players.”
Before their humbling at Anfield last season, United were making a late charge to join the title race with eight wins and just one defeat in an 11-match run.
Ten Hag’s sixth-placed side are already 10 points behind Liverpool, the current leaders, and an eighth Premier League defeat of the campaign would almost certainly end already distant hopes of reeling in their rivals.
But Klopp insists inflicting more pain on their long-time adversaries is not a motivating factor.
“No. I have to think if I ever did that… I would probably say no. There is one thing we go for and that’s three points on a match day,” he added.
“If something helps for motivation? If it would be round about four matchdays before the end of the season and with that we could make the last step I would probably mention it but in this situation that’s just not important.
“The 7-0 we knew that day it was a freak result that happens once in a lifetime. If it helps anyone for the next game it is the team who lost 7-0 and not the team who won 7-0.
“If you take it all out of consideration and just play a football game against the historical rival of Liverpool 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.
“It is a home game. It is for the people. We know what it means. No-one would expect us not to care. We care a lot (but) we cannot go nuts before the game already.”
Klopp’s main selection decision is around who to pair with Virgil van Dijk at centre-back with Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez having a half each alongside impressive 20-year-old Jarell Quansah in the 2-1 Europa League defeat to Union Saint Gilloise.