Belfast Telegraph

Klopp questions United tactics while Mourinho rues stalemate

Jurgen Klopp believes Manchester United's defence-minded approach would be unacceptable at Liverpool.

But after a tense goalless draw between the sides at Anfield, Jose Mourinho questioned his counterpart's timid changes.

Saturday's eagerly anticipated encounter was not as bad as last October's meeting on Merseyside but this was another edgy, scoreless 90 minutes.

Mourinho likened the 0-0 draw to a chess match after the sides drew a third successive league meeting for the first time since 1921 - a result that retains United's seven-point gap over Liverpool.

Klopp's men bossed the possession and the shot count at Anfield, where he felt United played in a way that would not be accepted by Liverpool fans.

"I think the performance was worth three points," the Reds boss told Sky Sports. "We were the better side.

"I think Man United came here for the point and they got it. We wanted three points and didn't get it.

"I'm sure if we played like this, you could not do this at Liverpool. Obviously for Man United it is OK.

"It's quite difficult when a top-class team like Man United has that defensive approach. You're not going to get 20 chances.

"But we had enough - a big one in the first half, and a penalty I feel. We were unlucky."

Klopp, seemingly having cooled off, tiptoed around the matter in the post-match press conference when asked whether he would line up a side like Mourinho did.

"Nice question," he said, with a smile. "If I say no, 'you don't want to win something'. If I say yes, then people are already afraid, so no comment."

Klopp struck a philosophical figure despite the frustration of failing to collect a much-needed win against their bitter rivals.

Mourinho's side mustered just one shot on target at Anfield, with the Portuguese pointing to his list of midfield absentees as key to their inability to improve in attack.

The United boss was hoping Klopp would make a desperate move to snatch victory, but instead the Liverpool manager made like-for-like alterations.

"I was (expecting him to change the formation) but I'm not criticising it," Mourinho said.

"I am just saying as a coach, you are on the bench and you try to anticipate things.

"And I have no midfielder to do what I do many, many times, which is to be with three strong midfielders and then give more freedom to all three attacking players. I couldn't do that.

"No (Marouane) Fellaini, no (Michael) Carrick, no (Paul) Pogba - nothing. Nothing at all.

"And then I thought the only chance I had to change the direction of the game is to bring players with one against one, bring players with speed and maybe - and that's what I told the players at half-time - maybe they are going to change. But they didn't.

"For me second half was a bit of chess, but my opponent didn't open the door for me to win the game."

United now have a Champions League clash at Benfica to prepare for, while Klopp was trying to remain upbeat ahead of their return to action at Maribor.

"For me today, one team who can become champion this year was in our stadium and is not a world apart from us," the Liverpool boss said.

"It's not that we are playing different planets and they are really good and we do not find the entrance to the stadium.

"So really it's OK and we carry on, that's all."

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