Jürgen Klopp left bewildered by Liverpool’s latest no-show

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær takes positive despite injury nightmare

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford  and Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford. Photograph:   Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford and Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri battle for the ball during the Premier League match at Old Trafford. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

 

Jürgen Klopp said Liverpool must learn to adapt to positive pressure and defensive opposition after the manager was left bewildered by his team’s performance against an injury-hit Manchester United.

Klopp described the goalless draw at Old Trafford as both a point gained and a missed opportunity as his Liverpool side returned to the top of the Premier League at the expense of Manchester City.

United, however, lost Nemanja Matic to a muscle injury before kick-off then Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and Mata’s replacement Jesse Lingard, to hamstring injuries before half-time. Marcus Rashford would have been substituted with an ankle injury had Ole Gunnar Solskjær had any options remaining, United’s caretaker manager admitted.

Klopp was at a loss to understand why the disruptions affected Liverpool more than the hosts. “Mo [Salah] said this week: ‘Of course there is pressure’ and from my point of view it is very positive pressure but I don’t have to play; I sit here and say dumb things and that is easy.

“For the boys they all have to learn in these situations. The only way we can do it is with passion. The heart and soul of this club is passion and on Wednesday night we have another chance [against Watford], then there is a derby which is a very emotional game.

“This game was a fight but a different fight to what we expected and we didn’t adapt like we should have. But that is not class or whatever. We know where we are coming from and where we are.

“Today was not brilliant but we lose here more often than we drew. It feels like we should have won but it was the same against Bayern when they came and defended with all they have. Something changed in the world of football – everyone adapted to it and we have to make sure we adapt.”

Liverpool endured their own injury problem during the match when Roberto Firmino turned an ankle in the first half. The influential Brazil striker left Old Trafford on crutches but with no diagnosis on the extent of the injury.

Klopp’s feelings were captured on TV on the final whistle when he appeared to say to Solskjær: “F**king hell, what a shit game.” Having kept a clean sheet despite losing three players to hamstring injuries inside 43 minutes, however, United’s caretaker manager took an opposing view.

“He can have his own opinion,” Solskjær said. “We had a good performance, defensively absolutely fantastic. He’s not happy if they didn’t have a shot on target, or one, and that was a long strike from [Daniel] Sturridge, but I was very pleased with the performance and the fans enjoyed it.”

Solskjær admitted Rashford should have been withdrawn after “his ankle blew up” following an early foul by Jordan Henderson.

The striker, who is expected to miss the visit to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, came in for rough treatment from Liverpool throughout, according to the Norwegian. “I can’t say he was targeted but there were quite a few fouls on him definitely,” Solskjær said. “Normally you’d take him off after five minutes but he wanted to run it off and then Ander and Juan came off so we couldn’t do it. I just hope he’s not damaged himself too much.”

Salah was comfortably subdued by the impressive Luke Shaw and Klopp said of the Egypt forward: “Mo knows he can play better than he did in this game. We know it too.”

On the performance in general, the Liverpool manager said: “We lost the rhythm. We didn’t get it back. If United play today with a full team like they did in the last few weeks then it is a completely different game. They know what they exactly do, they know where they pass and it means we know as well where they pass. But the whole game changed.

“That was not good for us today. I have no real clue why it happened but it happened. There were a few too many draws in the last games but we are still where we are now so let’s go on.” – Guardian

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