Klopp hails ‘outstanding’ first-half display as one of Liverpool’s best
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp agrees with Ralf Rangnick’s latest take on the current state of Manchester United ahead of Tuesday’s blockbuster clash at Anfield. While Liverpool are pursuing their second Premier League title in three years, United are still struggling to find consistency as a disappointing season nears its conclusion.
The Red Devils succumbed to a 5-0 defeat against Liverpool, 4-2 against Leicester City and 4-1 against Watford before Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dismissal. And ahead of the daunting trip to Anfield, Rangnick told reporters that United approached him after sacking Solskjaer to help tighten up their leaky defence.
He said: “The reason why the club contacted me in November was the fact they just conceded too many goals too easily,” Rangnick told the media ahead of the Liverpool game. “We reduced the number of goals conceded, but the way we defend is still not the standard that we need in order to be a top-four club.”
During his press conference on Monday, Klopp agreed with his fellow German’s opinion that United are now more organised at the back than under his predecessor. “I think Ralf tried to organise them with a clear structure,” he explained. “That is what he did. United have played some really good games, but even when they win, it’s difficult to gain momentum. But they concede less now for sure.”
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While both managers are correct, Rangnick’s arrival hasn’t catalysed the improvement fans initially hoped for. United shipped 24 goals in 14 league games under Solskjaer this season (1.7 per game) and have conceded 20 in 18 under the 63-year-old’s guidance (1.11 per game).
The 44 goals United have let in so far is already a higher total than the 38 last season and an indicator of the club’s underperforming defenders. If they surpass the 54 goals conceded in the 2018/19 campaign, it would be the Red Devils’ worst defensive campaign in 40 years.
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