It's a good dry run: Klopp

Reds boss optimistic against West Brom, based on negating United's height advantage

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has described Manchester United's display at Liverpool as timely preparation for dealing with the aerial approach of Tony Pulis' West Bromwich Albion today.

Liverpool host Albion having kept their first clean sheet of the Premier League season in the goal-less draw with United at Anfield on Monday.

Jose Mourinho's tactics stifled the attacking style of Klopp's team but did not exploit their vulnerability against set pieces or the long ball, with the central defenders Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren marshalling the lone striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Klopp believes Mourinho's game plan should prove a valuable exercise for his defenders against Pulis' team, who frustrated Liverpool in two Premier League draws last season.

Asked whether United's approach was good preparation for Albion, the German said: "Yes, partly... we are a football-playing side and Manchester United were more physical and stronger than we were with a lot of tall players. We did it well and I cannot remember there was a big advantage in this game out of these situations.

"We need to be ready again for situations like this (on Saturday). You can always use a few things from the last game but on the other hand it will be different again. Defending these balls was important and will be important in the next game."

Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini trying to shake his much shorter Liverpool opponent Sadio Mane off the ball in the 0-0 draw on Monday. After their first clean sheet in the league this season, Jurgen Klopp would want his side to keep it tight at
Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini trying to shake his much shorter Liverpool opponent Sadio Mane off the ball in the 0-0 draw on Monday. After their first clean sheet in the league this season, Jurgen Klopp would want his side to keep it tight at the back against one of their bogey teams. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mourinho accused Liverpool of being the cautious side, due to Klopp's deployment of Emre Can and Jordan Henderson as defensive midfielders and the replacement of Daniel Sturridge with Adam Lallana.

The Liverpool manager, however, refused to be drawn on his United counterpart's barbed comments regarding the performance.

"I am not interested in it," the German said. "I thought the game was over, so why should I talk about it still? I don't care what anybody says after the game.

"I know the game already and I know what I have to learn from it... It was a good experience for us, we were not perfect, that is all."

Liverpool are optimistic despite the draw with United as Klopp's injury list shortens.

Georginio Wijnaldum's influence was missed as he recovered from a hip injury but the midfielder is back in training and ready to play against West Brom.

Lallana, who played 30 minutes as a substitute on Monday, has fully recovered from a groin problem and should be able to play a fuller part today.

Liverpool, who had won five successive matches in all competitions before the draw with United, remain well placed, sitting fourth in the Premier League, two points behind faltering leaders Manchester City.

For West Brom, Saido Berahino is again the centre of attention, having not played for the club since Sept 10.

The young striker appears certain to be a substitute at best at Anfield, after it emerged that he has been placed on a personal fitness programme.

Berahino, who was deemed to be overweight by Pulis, has lost his place as the club's leading striker to Salomon Rondon, who has formed an impressive partnership with pre-season signing and new "No. 10" Nacer Chadli.

Said Pulis: "He (Berahino) has bought into it (fitness programme) and we think this is the best way to get him back on board."

The West Brom manager expects a "tough game" today.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LIVERPOOL V WEST BROM

Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, tomorrow, 12.30am

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2016, with the headline 'It's a good dry run: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe