Jurgen Klopp said he has no problem with Liverpool parking the bus against Manchester United on Saturday and a defensive approach will have to be taken at times during his team’s trip to Old Trafford.
After the goalless draw between the two teams at Anfield earlier this season, Klopp suggested that the defensive approach United adopted would perhaps not be tolerated at Liverpool.
However, speaking at a news conference on Friday, Klopp admits there will be moments where his team will be forced to defend with all 11 players behind the ball.
“This United team has a specific way of playing football — that’s all,” Klopp said. “We have to defend there with all we have and not gambling and thinking we are flying when playing Man United. Nobody flies. They are too strong, physically too strong, tactically too strong.
“It’s not a battle of systems or philosophies. It’s two very good football teams who will face each other.
“When United will attack, I hope all my players are involved in defending, to be honest. And if somebody then says that was parking the bus in that moment then we park the bus — I have no problem with that.
“Over 95, 97 minutes, of course, we want to bring our football on the pitch as well and that’s difficult to cope with as well to deal with. That’s the plan for this game.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of space in a lot of moments. It will be a big fight — how derbies are in general. Hopefully at the end with a positive result for us.”
Liverpool’s last three meetings with Mourinho’s United sides have all ended in draws. United only registered 38 percent possession and a single shot on target during the most recent encounter in October, leading to criticism aimed towards Jose Mourinho for his decision to “park the bus.”
“I would never use the words,” Klopp said. “In this specific game, I have absolutely no problem with defending.
“I know how the situation is at the moment and what people are saying. They play a specific kind of football, we play a specific kind of football — and everybody makes a big thing of it. But it’s all about winning and there are different ways to win football games.”
A win at Old Trafford on the weekend would see Liverpool move ahead of United into second place in the Premier League.
“I don’t think this game needs any extra reasons to be a bigger game,” Klopp said. “It’s the biggest game I can imagine.
“First of all, [I’m] really looking forward to it. How it always is in these games, it’s difficult. We need to be at 100 percent, if not even a few more, to get something — that’s the plan.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the United match, with captain Jordan Henderson recovering from the “dead leg” he suffered in midweek during the Porto draw.
Andrew Robertson and Georginio Wijnaldum are also fit and available for Saturday, while Nathaniel Clyne continues to build up fitness following his long-term back injury.
“Robbo is clear,” Klopp said. “Clyney is still on a very good way, with no further injury since he has been back.
“Hendo, dead leg, looked OK yesterday. Gini is also on the way back and looked good. Him and Ben [Woodburn] lost one or two kilos [due to illness], but should be OK again. It was normal in training.”