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Sunday 4 December 2016

Klopp expects classic United battle

Liverpool boss wants repeat of Europa win

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates in the Europa League win over Manchester United last season.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates in the Europa League win over Manchester United last season.
Jose Mourinho will relish the challenge of facing Liverpool at Anfield on Monday

Jurgen Klopp believes the stage is set for a thriller when Liverpool lock horns with Manchester United at Anfield on Monday night.

The German coach says the memories of the Reds' European triumph over United last term has whetted his appetite ahead of the latest showdown between the arch rivals.

Liverpool knocked United out in the last 16 of the Europa League back in March after following up a 2-0 home win with a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford courtesy of Philippe Coutinho's stunning individual goal.

The home side will have the logo 'Seeing is Believing' on their shirts for the iconic fixture to mark Standard Chartered's global initiative to tackle avoidable blindness.

Klopp says those words are also a fitting description for what promises to be a pulsating clash with Jose Mourinho's men.

"We are really looking forward to what will be a fantastic game at Anfield," Klopp said.

Inspired

"Those Europa League games were really nice. Both games were intense and competitive.

"We were better in the first game at Anfield. We had a fantastic atmosphere and the players were inspired by that.

"It was my first time at Old Trafford for the second leg. Maybe people don't like to hear it, but there was actually quite a good atmosphere there too!

"It changed the game a little bit and it was real proof of what an atmosphere can do. United were on top but we killed that atmosphere with Philippe's wonderful goal in the 45th minute. From then on it wasn't that difficult any more.

"It's a perfect moment for 'Seeing is Believing' because this game will have to be seen for people to believe what will happen."

The visit of United comes exactly one year on from Klopp's first match in charge of Liverpool at White Hart Lane.

The rate of progress has been impressive.

He led the Reds to two cup finals last term and his summer overhaul of the squad he inherited has so far delivered much greater consistency. Liverpool sit fourth in the Premier League - just two points off the summit - and are chasing a sixth straight win in all competitions.

"It's been a busy, intense year," Klopp said.

"There have been a few ups and a few downs but always with a really optimistic view about the future. I think that's what we still have.

"It's a job we have to do. We all enjoy working together and it's much better when you enjoy it.

"From my side, it feels like a short year! It's gone like this (clicks fingers). Hopefully I will have many more years here.

"I've never thought about the speed or the tempo of our progress, I only knew that we had to get better - that's how life is.

"Even when you are good, you need to get better because the teams around you all get better too. To stay in the race, development is everything."

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