Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said he almost called a British radio station to defend rivals Manchester United from fierce criticism.
United had a miserable start to the Premier League season and sat bottom of the table after defeats to Brighton and Brentford.
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Following the 4-0 loss at Brentford, former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor criticized United on talkSPORT and Klopp hit back at the pundit’s comments.
“It wasn’t a great week for United after Brentford. We forget how good Brentford are,” Klopp said in a press conference on Friday. “I watched the first half and then went home and listened to talkSPORT radio.
“Gabby Agbonlahor – he lost to us 6-0 in my first year and I didn’t remember him as a mentality monster on the pitch, but what he said about United on that show …I was about to call and tell him you completely forgot you were a player.
“If the old players are already going like this, you can imagine how everything else goes. Just ask yourself how you would like to react in a situation like this. They will want to fight, that’s completely normal and that’s what we expect.”
Klopp’s side travel to Old Trafford on Monday and he is confident United will have extra motivation, and said he would have preferred to face their lower-ranked opponents after wins rather than defeats.
Liverpool beat their bitter rivals 5-0 and 4-0 last season, but Klopp reminded fans his side hadn’t had a great start to the campaign.
“Of course I would prefer to play them after their 5-0 win but it’s not dreamland, that’s how it is,” he added. “We’ve drawn twice too, so is it better to play us? I don’t know.
“We have to deal with all the situations. The whole world will be watching, let’s see how these heavyweights handle the situation.
“The last two results, I already knew, wouldn’t help this time. I couldn’t be less interested in the results of last season… It helps United to be more motivated if possible.
“It’s a completely different game in a completely different situation. United can’t change anything or everything, so it’s tricky in terms of preparation, but it’s early days and we don’t have a lot of information. It’s difficult… United will never be easy away.”
Klopp has said defender Joe Gomez will start after coming off the bench in their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace while striker Roberto Firmino is also available after clearing himself of a minor muscle issue.
Information from Reuters has been included in this report.