16 Jan Reds dead rubber
Louis Van Gaal and Jurgen Klopp insist opposites attract as they prepare to renew their rivalry in Sunday’s crucial Barclays Premier League clash at Anfield.
While Van Gaal has been derided for his perceived negative tactics this season the German’s attacking intent has been hailed as a breath of fresh air in the top flight.
But the pair – who have met four times in the Bundesliga – insist there is plenty of room for both approaches in a rare show of north-west magnanimity ahead of the storied showdown.
Van Gaal paid tribute to Klopp, insisting: “You can see he plays a very aggressive and pressing kind of game and he already knows the difference between the Premier League and the German league.
“He is a very capable manager in the Premier League because he has always showed this kind of football and I think the fans will love it.”
And while Klopp underlined the kind of attacking intent United fans maintain has been sorely missing at Old Trafford this season, he also backed Van Gaal to win over his growing band of critics.
“Louis van Gaal is one of the most successful managers in the world; he has a special idea of football and as an opponent you have to respect this,” said Klopp.
“I am a football fan and if I watch football I like to be entertained, it is one of the most important things in football.
“It would not be the same game if people went into the stadium and thought only about tactics and thought ‘This player has to move three yards left or four yards right’.
“It is a different idea of football but I wouldn’t say we had the better idea.”
Coincidentally both sides go into the game on the back of 3-3 draws in midweek, with Liverpool snatching a point against Arsenal and United blowing a two-goal lead at Newcastle.
United’s late capitulation angered Van Gaal but he is relishing the opportunity to put things right having already been well versed in the unique atmosphere of a United-Liverpool clash.
“I have felt it (the rivalry) already four times, on the tour of the USA and in the league. You can see it on the faces of the players,” said Van Gaal.
“We need to be aggressive but also under control. It is that kind of match and it will always be difficult because the passion at play in these kinds of games is always very high.”
Van Gaal is once again set to be without Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phil Jones but Adnan Januzaj could feature from the bench following his return from a loan spell in Germany.
Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren will not be fit to return against United as the Croatia international is still recovering from a hamstring injury sustained at Stoke earlier this month.