unforgiving | 

Jurgen Klopp gives his verdict on Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United nightmare

The Liverpool boss takes his side to Old Trafford tomorrow night on a mission to kick-start their season.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag set to face Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp© Getty Images

Liverpool's Darwin Nunez, second right, gestures after he was shown a red card during the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield stadium in Liverpool, England, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Jon Super)© AP

Ken LawrenceSunday World

JURGEN Klopp insists he has no sympathy for the Red Devils or manager Erik ten Hag.

The Liverpool boss takes his side to Old Trafford tomorrow night on a mission to kick-start their season.

And if that means kicking his opposite number when he’s down, then so be it.

Clashes between the clubs have always been based on only one thing – kill or be killed.

The fact that Ten Hag is facing the crisis that many United fans fear could lead to the unthinkable – relegation – in neither here nor there to the German.

Especially when his own team have opened up with two underwhelming draws and by the time they kick-off could be seven points behind champions Manchester City, who face Newcastle United today.

Klopp almost laughed out loud when asked if he had any sympathy for Ten Hag’s situation, snorting:”No, I’ve not. If it’s football problems. We have problems.

“I’m not sure if you go to Manchester United and ask them if Ten Hag think we have a few injuries too many, it’s not like this.

“The football world is a sea full of sharks.

“It is not necessary that I feel sympathy. It will not help them or harm them that I don’t do it.

“We all have our own problems and that’s it.”

Those problems Klopp talks about centre on the ten injuries that his club’s physios are currently dealing with.

He will also be without £85m record buy Darwen Nunez who is suspended for three games after his nutcase headbutt on Joachim Anderson during last week’s fraught 1 – 1 draw with Crystal Palace.

The sharks, he knows, might start tearing piece off him if he were to lose at the Theatre of Dreams, given that ten Hag and his players are gripped in a nightmare that saw them humbled 4 – 0 by Brentford after a 2-1 losing start against Brighton.

So far, however, it has been safe swimming for him during the seven years that saw him bring back the top flight to Anfield for the first time since 1990.

There was also the Champions League triumph of 2019 plus two more appearances in the final – the second of those last season after the title near miss that saw City prevail.

There was no historic Quadruple, therefore, but at least the domestic cup double.

And so there is no pressure on the German, beloved of The Kop, and any negativity around him has been minimal.

He would like to keep it that way, too, saying he’s not sure what it would feel like to be in Ten Hag’s shoes.

But he does have some advice for the Dutchman, saying: “I have not a lot of experience, to be honest, since arriving here seven years ago.

“When I arrived here I don’t think we hit the ground running immediately.

“We played a good game at Tottenham, but drew. Simon Mignolet had to make a few big saves.

“Then there was also a draw with Rubin Kazan in the Europa League and Bournemouth in the League Cup with Clyne’s only goal he ever scored.

“So it wasn’t: ‘Oh god you can see it immediately’.

“But I can say that I didn’t read anything about those games either.

“That makes it easier because you know that you’re not over the moon about your own results, you don’t care exactly what people might say so you don’t have to read it.

“You don’t have to be fussed by it all, or whatever, so you focus on work and go for the little steps.

“You talk about it for bigger clubs. If you lose, then the first five articles in newspapers are about that.

“If you are strong enough not to read that then you can have an okay life, and just work on the important stuff.

“So that’s what I have done for seven years and that helps me.

“That is the only advice I could give.”

Yet while he will be smelling blood tomorrow night he will only try to taste it in a football sense, vowing not to join the debate that suggests most of the players Ten Hag will be picking are not fit for purpose.

Klopp will stab his rival in the front, not in the back, insisting: “It’s not my subject, not my cup of tea. I can’t sit here days before we play United and create headlines for you. Why ask me these questions?

“If I say ‘yes’ and it’s just a matter of telling them how to do it, say no then we have a real mess.

“It is not my cup of tea.

“You can ask me now can we play Pep Guardiola football and probably we can be good if I coach it.

“It could be possible. But I have nothing to say about Manchester United.”


Today's Headlines

More Soccer

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices