Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not consider Manchester United underdogs in this season’s title race and has never seen them in that light.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side moved three points clear of the Reds at the top of the table with a midweek win over Burnley and can stretch their lead further with victory at Anfield on Sunday.
Despite their current position, the Red Devils are still being referred to in some quarters as not genuine contenders alongside Liverpool and Manchester City but Klopp laughed that off.
‘I have been five years in England and United was never an underdog. They cannot be,’ he said.
‘It is just like it is: always good teams, always great players, always really good managers and coaches.
‘It was always there and now they are top of the table. That is how it is. They cannot be underdogs but we play at home and we don’t see ourselves as an outsider or whatever just because they are ahead of us.
‘We have to be dominant in the games. Usually they change system against us. They played 10 times with four at the back and against RB Leipzig they played with five at the back, maybe they will change that.
‘Those are things we have to think about – not who is the outsider. It is Liverpool vs United and that in itself is a massive game.
‘Wherever I would be in the world I would watch it, definitely. This is the game.’
Klopp also rejected the suggestion that this is a match in which his side, without a league win in three matches, need to reassert their status as defending Premier League champions after a recent wobble.
‘If it would be that easy, I would just say exactly what you said now. Show it now!’ he added.
‘These boys did not go for an excuse in one second that I was here. Not for one second. That does not mean things cannot go wrong.
‘Obviously, we did not do outstandingly well since mid-November. But, thank God, when I say I don’t think about the good things, that I don’t think about the about the bad things. Who cares? We still have 33 points.
‘Yes, we are not exactly where we want to be but we have learned a lot from this season.
‘It is not because of the boys’ attitude. It’s just because it didn’t work out.
‘What we had to accept, after a long time when things were just clicking in specific games, they then did not click. That’s the truth.
‘It’s not that it disappeared somewhere. It’s just that it has not been exactly as it should be.
‘Why should one team click all the time and the other team not?
‘We just had to step a little bit back, work on the basics and get strong – as strong as we can be again.
‘That’s what we did. That is what we will do. I think that can work.’
Klopp will assess Joel Matip in training before deciding whether to start the centre back against United at Anfield on Sunday after he missed three matches with a groin problem.
Midfielder Naby Keita, however, will not feature having not played since 19 December due to an ongoing muscle problem.
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