Liverpool v Manchester United: Jurgen Klopp believes Jose Mourinho is still a force
Pool chief brushes off any talk of his opposite number being on the wane
Jurgen Klopp boasts a winning record against Jose Mourinho and, as the two managers prepare to meet again at Anfield tonight, there is a feeling that Klopp's Liverpool, rather than Mourinho's Manchester United, are the coming force.
Klopp's only defeat to Mourinho as a manager in five previous meetings was the second leg of a Champions League semi-final in 2013, a result that did not stop Borussia Dortmund reaching the final at Wembley.
Liverpool also go into the game on the back of four successive Premier League wins, compared with United's record of one win in four, and as the second leading scorers in the top flight.
Klopp's side also has the look of a real 'team' as they seek to build on his progressive first 12 months on Merseyside, while Mourinho appears still to be in the early stages of a salvage mission to repair the damage done under the managerial reigns of David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
With that job coming on the back of Mourinho's meltdown at Chelsea last season - his sacking followed a run of results which included a 3-1 home defeat to Klopp's Liverpool - it could be asked whether the powers of the Portuguese are on the wane.
Klopp, however, would have none of it. "It's bull. No, but rubbish. Who says this? He has started badly at United? They won their first (three) games. So now you are giving B grades for winning?" he asked.
"I try to play similar football to now with my former team and when we faced Real Madrid it was unbelievably difficult to play them.
"He (Mourinho) knows how successful football works. To like or not like the way he plays, why should he care? Why should he care? He has won the Champions League more times than I have played in it. That's how it is.
"How can I say who is on the way here and who is on the way there? If I lose against Manchester United you will stand here and ask me: 'So..what about your ways..?' I am of course not interested and absolutely not part of the group that says Jose Mourinho was or has been a good manager.
"He is a competitor. Without knowing him well, I know he will want to win this game."
A win for United at Anfield would give them an unprecedented fifth successive league victory in the fixture, a remarkable quirk given the club's recent problems.
It would also give Mourinho enormous satisfaction, given the rivalry with Liverpool he stoked in his two spells as Chelsea manager, the second including a famous 2-0 win at Anfield in April 2014 which shattered the Reds' title dream.
That day he choked the life out of Brendan Rodgers' side but Klopp expects a different kind of challenge this time.
"That they don't come out of their own half? I can't imagine that actually," he added. "They are Man United and they have the quality and offensive players who are strong and quick and technically good. They have everything you need to play football. In the end a game can change when one team goes in to the lead or something, so we don't know exactly what they will do but I am sure they won't come here to defend only."