Jurgen Klopp has stressed Liverpool will be ready to defend “with all we have” if needed at Manchester United on Saturday – even if it leads to accusations of “parking the bus”.
That all-out defensive tactic is something United manager Jose Mourinho has been accused of in the past, including after the previous meeting between the clubs in October, when his side left Liverpool frustrated in a 0-0 draw at Anfield.
Reds boss Klopp, whose men are the Premier League’s second-highest scorers this season, was asked on Friday if he expected Mourinho to “park the bus” in this weekend’s Old Trafford contest.
“I know how the situation is at the moment, 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.
“It has been a big rivalry for ages but in the last few years obviously Manchester United were more successful than us, that is the truth. We respect that.”
Klopp added: “This United team have a specific way of playing football. That is all. And if we have to defend there, we have to defend there with all we have, and not gambling and thinking ‘we are flying’. Nobody flies. They are too strong.
“It’s not a battle of systems or philosophies, it’s two very good teams who will face each other. And when United will attack, I hope all my players are involved in defending to be honest, and
if somebody says then ‘that was parking the bus’ in that moment, then we park the bus. I have no problem with that.
“Over 90 minutes of course we want to bring our football on the pitch as well.
“I don’t think there will be a lot of space in a lot of moments. I think it will be a big fight – how derbies are in general. But hopefully at the end, a positive result for us.”
He added: “We want to have a result, and that is the only reason we go there. The main difference is we go there by bus. It’s Manchester, so it’s quite close.”
Liverpool and United go into the match lying third and second respectively in the table, with two points between them.
Klopp said: “It is the biggest game I can imagine.
“We need to be at 100 per cent… if we are going to get something there. But of course, that is the plan.
“Man United have outstanding quality. They have home advantage, and it is our job to level that. It is a very experienced team, a very experienced manager, so quite a job to do.”