Carl Markham, PA
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists last season’s humiliation of Manchester United counts for nothing as the two arch-rivals prepare to meet again.
The Reds won 5-0 at Old Trafford and 4-0 at home last term, but a new season and a new manager in Erik ten Hag presents a different challenge.
“When we had the two results last year I knew already in that moment it would not help for next year. It was always like this,” said Klopp, who confirmed striker Roberto Firmino will be fit to start in the absence of the suspended Darwin Nunez.
“I could not be less interested in the results from last year – different games, different situations.
“It just helps United to be even more motivated, if that’s possible in the situations we are in.
“This is a completely different game and a different situation.
“I would prefer to play them after they won 5-0, definitely. That is how it is, but it is not dreamland and we have to take it like it is.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 18, 2022
“We drew two games, so is it better to play us in a situation like this or is it worse? I don’t know.”
Reports in Germany this week suggested midfielder Naby Keita, who is in the final year of his contract, is unhappy at his lack of game time.
The Guinea international has had significant injury and availability issues – Monday’s draw with Crystal Palace was his first appearance in a matchday squad as an unused substitute – but Klopp dismissed suggestions Keita could leave in the current window.
“It is really funny when I have to respond on news, because what you would learn if you sat on my side of the table is how often 0.0 (percent truth) is behind the ‘news’,” he said.
“No, absolutely nothing. Naby was ill for a week. Last game on the bench, fully in training, looks really good, all fine.
“But he’s not a player who is overly happy when he is not playing, but that is completely is fine. Nobody came to me and asked me anything about that.”
Klopp has spoken to Nunez after his red card against Crystal Palace but insists the matter is now closed.
“He was very disappointed with himself, obviously, that it happened. The things the centre-half (Joachim Andersen) did – he is not the only player in the world who is doing these kind of things,” said Klopp.
“It is not necessary to walk him through the building with his head down, miserable stuff like this. It happened. We are human beings.
“We have made mistakes in our life and will make mistakes in our life and you have to carry on. If you don’t do it again then it is all fine.”
Apologies to Liverpool all ✋🏼
I’ll be back pic.twitter.com/iszTdSAx2i
— Darwin Núñez (@Darwinn99) August 16, 2022
Nunez has received support from fellow Uruguayan Luis Suarez, who himself had a chequered history at Anfield.
The 35-year-old was never actually sent off in three-and-a-half controversial years at the club but was banned for eight matches for racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra, 10 games for biting Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic and one game for making an obscene gesture to Fulham fans.
“It’s nothing serious, we’ve all made a mistake. The problem is that he’s only just arrived over there and in England, to put it lightly, they make a big deal out of everything,” he told television station Telemundo.
“With what happened to him the other day I was talking to him (and said) ‘Don’t give them any more chances, it’ll only get worse’, to make him aware that from now on (opponents) will be seeking him out twice or three times more often.
“Even more so in England. He’s hearing this from an idiot who made mistakes and suffered for them, but falling down and getting up again made me stronger.”