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Jurgen Klopp on title race, Bruno Fernandes threat & penalty "mind games"

LFC Globe
15th January 2021

discussed Liverpool's clash against during his pre-match press conference at Kirkby on Friday.

The Reds boss fielded a range of questions from the usual cohort as he looks for his side to get back to winning ways in the Premier League against league-leaders Man United.

Despite beating 4-1 in the FA Cup in midweek, confidence remains low amongst the Liverpool squad following two draws and a defeat in their last three league outings.

Meanwhile, United's fortunes have been the polar opposite of late, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side getting maximum points from nine of their last eleven Premier League matches.

While three points would see the Reds go back above their rivals, Klopp insisted he isn't thinking about the wider circumstances at hand as he insisted there is still "a long way to go" in the season.

"Winning a football game and winning against United is enough. It's not necessary there are these special add-ons," Klopp said.

"We play against United at home so we want to win. That's all we have to think about. There's no extra add-on to the game because they're in the situation they are.

"They deserve the points they have so far and we have ours. The season is still a long way to go so it's not really about talking whether if we win we're ahead of them, or if they win they're ahead of us.

Liverpool vs Man United

Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images

" is one game behind and very close as well so we would always have to constantly think about other teams, but we don't do that.

"We just try to win our football games and for this, we need to perform at our highest level because United are a good side, they always were. That's it."

The boss was questioned on his thoughts over midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who has been a catalyst for United since his arrival last season.

"He’s an outstanding player," Klopp said. "Before he joined United we played against Sporting on the USA tour and even in that game you could see… wow.

"Everybody obviously knew of him but that was the first time one of my teams played against him and you could see he was the difference-maker.

"That’s what he shows now [at ], he’s settled, very influential player for United, involved in a lot of things. I know people talk mostly about the goal involvements which is very important stuff but his link up in a lot of other situations is important as well.

Bruno Fernandes

Image: Getty Images

"I don’t know him well enough to judge this but he seems to be a leader as well so, yeah, good signing unfortunately for United."

The boss also provided a fitness update on his squad, ruling out of action. Klopp insisted could feature, although no decision has yet been made on the centre-back.

Klopp was also pressed on comments from ex-referee Mark Clattenburg, who claimed the Reds boss was looking to emulate Sir Alex Ferguson's influence after stating the fact Man United had won "more penalties in two years than I have had in five-and-a-half years."

It came after Klopp criticised the match officials following Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at , when had two penalty shouts turned down.

Clattenburg claimed the Liverpool boss' comments were an attempt to influence Sunday's referee, Paul Tierney, ahead of the encounter.

"Am I surprised that somebody is talking about what I said? No. Am I surprised that Mark Clattenburg speaks about it? No," Klopp said.

Mark Clattenburg

Image: Getty Images

"I am not sure if he was asked a lot of things, but long after his career, it is nice for him that we can talk about him as well.

"But I am not Sir Alex and this is not mind games. After the game, we had another game [ in the FA Cup] before United and I didn't think for a second about the United game in that moment.

"But before the game at , I saw the stat about the penalties (for United) and that's what I mentioned.

"But people like Mark Clattenburg, speaking how they speak, it says much more about them than it could ever say about me.

"If he would be in my situation, he would obviously play mind games, but unfortunately I have no skills for playing mind games and that's my problem."

Watch everything Klopp had to say during his press conference above.

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