Manchester United, relaunched in the race for the Champions League after their victory against Norwich on Saturday (3-2), and the missteps of Arsenal and Tottenham, will travel to Liverpool (9 p.m.) who still dream of styling Manchester City, leader with a point lead, at the post in the league.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp described Tuesday’s Premier League Matchday 30 game against Manchester United as a clash between « two of the biggest clubs in the worldand said his side expected a tough test despite the opposition’s struggles this season. Second-placed Liverpool are one point behind Premier League leaders Manchester City, while United are fifth, three points behind Tottenham Hotspur, who sit last in the Champions League. « It’s a big game, a huge game, two of the biggest clubs in the world. We always have to learn to deal with itKlopp told reporters on Monday. « The Manchester United that we are going to face, will do everything to get there. The Mancunians want to go to the Champions League. It’s going to be an intense 90-minute game… It’s an incredibly important game for both teams. That says it all. Both teams fight« .
The German also praised his counterpart Ralf Rangnick for the job he has done since taking over as interim at Old Trafford last year. « I haven’t spoken to him since he’s been in England, out of respect, but you can see the changes he’s made there and the parts he’s improvedKlopp said of his compatriot. « I think Ralf tried to organize them with a clear structure. That’s what he did. United have played some very good games, but even when they win it’s hard to gain momentum. But for sure they concede fewer goals now« .
Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah will be looking for his first goal from open play since February 19 against United at Anfield, but Klopp added he was unfazed by the Egyptian’s barren spell. « It is a completely normal period that he is going through. We talked about the physical demands. I really liked the game against City (FA Cup semi-final), it was a very good game of football, it’s only a matter of time before he scores again« , did he declare. « We have had many discussions over the time we have been working together and at this precise moment there is no need to talk about the situation.»
Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick on Monday urged his side to show more defensive solidity as they approach a crucial period which will determine Champions League qualification and likely define his tenure as caretaker boss. . Rangnick, who took over from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last November, has struggled to turn United’s season around after a dismal start to the season, three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
« We have to be more compact, we have to find the right balance between what we do in possession of the ball and what we have to do to defend our own goalRangnick told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s trip to second-placed Liverpool. « Certainly we have to be more compact, more aggressive… That’s what we have to show tomorrow against a team that is probably one of the best at creating moments where they can be dangerous in and around the box . We need to be at our best defensively« .
« Even though we might be the underdogs for most people, we know that if we raise our level, if we perform at a high level, then we have a chance to take three points. This will be our ambition and our goal for tomorrow« , he added. The German has confirmed midfielder Bruno Fernandes was involved in a car accident earlier on Monday but escaped unharmed and will be available against Liverpool. Defender Raphael Varane, however, is likely to miss out again after missing the last two league games with a muscle problem.