The Big Match

Football: Jurgen Klopp slams Jose Mourinho's tactics

Manchester United's Phil Jones (left) watches as his goalkeeper David de Gea makes a wonder save against Liverpool's Joel Matip. It was the highlight of the match.
Manchester United's Phil Jones (left) watches as his goalkeeper David de Gea makes a wonder save against Liverpool's Joel Matip. It was the highlight of the match.PHOTO: REUTERS

German frustrated by United's defensive strategy, believes Reds deserved three points


Liverpool 0
Manchester United 0

LIVERPOOL• Jurgen Klopp said he could never get away with the cautious tactics used by Manchester United counterpart Jose Mourinho in yesterday's 0-0 draw at Anfield.

"Manchester United came here for a point and got it," the German said in a TV interview. "For sure you could not play this way at Liverpool but it's okay for Manchester United."

Asked later at the post-match press conference to elaborate, Klopp, whose team still trail United by seven points, was more diplomatic. "I said it was obvious they had a more defensive approach, I think that was obvious, but that's completely fine," he said.

"After the game, it looked to me like they wanted a point; if they could get three, they would take it of course, but we wanted three.

"So they are happy and we are not happy. That's easy. But it's a home game so we should be dominant. I'm okay with the performance. It's not my job to judge the Manchester United performance."

The match was billed as the biggest Premier League clash this weekend, but there were no goals or even a shot on target in the second half to mark the occasion.

Klopp said that while he was disappointed not to pick up all three points, he was pleased with the way his team performed against one of the title favourites.


For sure you could not play this way at Liverpool but it's okay for Manchester United.

JURGEN KLOPP, Liverpool manager, on Manchester United's cautious tactics. 

"For me, a team who can become champions this year was at our stadium and it was not a world apart from us. It's not that we play on different planets, it's not that they are really good and we don't find the entrance of the stadium. It's okay and we will carry on," he said.

"If you watch the game and you have an idea of football, you cannot expect that we create 20 chances against Manchester United - it's just simply not possible. Barcelona on the best day would not do it.


  • 0

    Shots on target by either side in the second half.

"You will see, United will not lose a lot of games in this season," he added. "If you want to be happy today you can be happy, but if you think, 'okay, again not too bad...' - which is probably my view on it - then you can be in this mood and carry on."

It was the second successive season this fixture has ended goalless and it did not need an overly suspicious mind to deduce that Mourinho had decided the priority wa

s to avoid being beaten.


  • 1

    Shot on target by Manchester United in three of their last four Premier League games against Liverpool.

His team had averaged three goals a game from their previous seven league fixtures, but this was the first time they had faced any of the sides in the top 12 positions and he altered his tactics accordingly.

The Portuguese will probably reflect on a job well done, no matter how much it grates with him on occasions that he is accused of putting together teams that lack adventure on the toughest assignments.

It was an afternoon when centre-backs Phil Jones and Chris Smalling demonstrated their improvement under Mourinho and one moment in the first half served as a reminder that there might not be another goalkeeper in the world with David de Gea's shot-stopping ability.

Anfield was rising to acclaim the opening goal when Roberto Firmino deceived Nemanja Matic inside the penalty area and Joel Matip was first to the cross.

Matip made a solid connection but in that split second de Gea was already adjusting his body, jutting out his left foot to block the shot almost on the goalline. It was an exceptional piece of goalkeeping.

And when de Gea rose to his feet, he still did not have a hair out of place. In similar fashion, the supporters at Anfield - both home and away - were unlikely to be blown away by the final result either.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 15, 2017, with the headline 'Klopp slams Jose tactics'. Print Edition | Subscribe