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Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Really good’: Jurgen Klopp expresses admiration for under-fire Man United man

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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has spoken out in support of embattled Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag while labelling his FA Cup quarter-final opponent a ‘really good manager’ 

Not all situations are created equally, of course, but Jurgen Klopp can probably understand what his opposite number is going through, at least to some extent.

Klopp too found himself fielding off plenty of doubters before finally winning a first trophy in 2019. His fourth year in the Anfield dugout and following so many heartbreaking final defeats.

Erik ten Hag, facing an uncertain future ahead of Manchester United’s first summer under Ineos control, already has a piece of silverware to his name, guiding the Red Devils to the EFL Cup just over 12 months ago. 

And while things have threatened to unravel since then – the FA Cup is United’s last shot at a trophy this term – Klopp is in no doubts about the qualities of a coach who celebrated his first win at Old Trafford against Liverpool back in August 2022. 

Manchester United Training Session

Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images

Mancheester United vs Liverpool

“I am looking forward to it, though I’m not sure that’s exactly what you call enjoyment!” Klopp tells the official Liverpool website, his rampant Reds side looking to secure another visit to Wembley on Sunday. 

“United obviously had a full week to prepare. Erik ten Hag is a really good manager. He will prepare them, he knows exactly how we play, so there we will face some challenges we don’t know in the moment. That’s how it is.

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“Yes, as much as it’s possible, I enjoy it.”

Ten Hag’s record against Klopp since arriving in England stands at one win, one draw and one defeat, December’s hard-earned 0-0 draw at Anfield helping to exercising the ghosts of that seven-goal shellacking in the previous campaign. 

United have also won eight of their 11 games so far in 2024, even if the performances have often left a lot to be desired. Ten Hag’s hopes of an improved display should be helped, at least, by the return of talismanic frontman Rasmus Hojlund from injury. 

Erik ten Hag vs Jurgen Klopp

Hojlund was in the best form of his short career – becoming the youngest player ever to score in six straight Premier League games – before being ruled out for four games back in February. Ten Hag confirms that Hojlund is back available again, alongside centre-half Harry Maguire and right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. 

Long-term absentee Mason Mount also returned to training in the week.

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