Reds must rediscover passion: Klopp

Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino (right), challenging Manchester United's Chris Smalling for the ball, sustained an ankle injury in the 0-0 draw.
Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino (right), challenging Manchester United's Chris Smalling for the ball, sustained an ankle injury in the 0-0 draw.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp has urged his Liverpool players "to learn to adapt" to positive pressure and defensive opposition after the manager was left bewildered by his team's performance against an injury-hit Manchester United.

Klopp described Sunday's goal-less draw at Old Trafford as both a point gained and a missed opportunity as his Liverpool side returned to the top of the Premier League at the expense of Manchester City.

The German was at a loss to understand why the disruptions - United lost Nemanja Matic before kick-off and then Ander Herrera, Juan Mata and his replacement, Jesse Lingard, to hamstring injuries inside 43 minutes - affected the visitors more than the hosts.

He told reporters: "From my point of view, it is very positive pressure, but I don't have to play - I only sit here and say dumb things, so that's easy.

"For the boys, they all have to learn in these situations. The only way we can do it is with passion.

"The heart and soul of this club is passion and we have another chance (against Watford tomorrow), then there is the (Merseyside) derby (on Sunday), which is a very emotional game.

"This game was a fight, but a different fight to what we expected and we didn't adapt like we should have.

"Today was not brilliant, but we lose here more often than we drew. It feels like we should have won, but it was the same against Bayern (Munich) when they came and defended with all they have."

Liverpool endured their own injury issue when Roberto Firmino turned an ankle in the first half, which Klopp called "a catastrophe". The club have yet to issue a diagnosis on the injury.

He added: "It was a game without a lot of highlights, it was intense. All the injuries in the game obviously cost us rhythm and we couldn't get it back. On days when United are beatable, you have to do it and we didn't do it."

Having kept a clean sheet despite the injuries, United's caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took an opposing view.

"He can have his own opinion," the Norwegian said of Klopp. "We had a good performance, defensively absolutely fantastic.

"He's not happy if they didn't have a shot on target, or one, and that was a long strike from (Daniel) Sturridge, but I was very pleased with the performance and the fans enjoyed it."

Solskjaer, however, took umbrage at how Marcus Rashford came in for rough treatment throughout the game.

Admitting the forward, who is expected to miss the trip to Crystal Palace tomorrow, would have been withdrawn early after "his ankle blew up" if not for injuries to Herrera and Mata, Solskjaer said: "I can't say he was targeted, but there were quite a few fouls on him definitely."

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 26, 2019, with the headline 'Reds must rediscover passion: Klopp'. Print Edition | Subscribe