Liverpool vs Manchester United. There are very few clashes that get the players and the fans fired up to this extent. The two most successful English clubs have been the biggest of rivals since ages and the rivalry is all set to continue on Monday night in the Premier League fixture at Anfield.
The managers are under immense pressure to deliver the result in such a huge contest and it will be no different for ‘The Normal One,’ Jurgen Klopp and ‘The Special One’, Jose Mourinho.
Jurgen Klopp completed one year as Liverpool manager recently and you can see the German’s stamp on this current Liverpool team with their ‘gegenpressing’ football. Klopp has turned this team into an attacking machine with the likes of Firmino, Coutinho and Lallana enjoying their best spells at Anfield under the 49-year old. Summer signings Sadio Mane and Joel Matip have also been impressive.
After taking over from an uninspiring Brendan Rodgers, Klopp has turned this Liverpool outfit into top contenders for the Premier League title this season after guiding them to Europa League finals last year.
Jose Mourinho, after an unceremonious exit from Chelsea, was appointed as manager of Manchester United, bringing an end to a mundane two-year spell of Louis van Gaal. The Portuguese kicked off in style, bringing in superstar Zlatan Ibrahimovic and record-signing Paul Pogba to Old Trafford.
It was touted to be the dawn of a new era for the Red Devils, under the controversial Jose, and everything seemed set for their rise to the top of club football once again.
But things haven’t gone according to plans for the Mancunians with losses against rivals Manchester City and Watford and a draw against Stoke City leaving the Old Trafford club at the sixth position, 3 points behind their opponents on Monday.
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The performances have improved, the football is more direct, the team plays with more attacking verve. But Jose still has a long way to go to turn this star-ensemble into a title winning team.
Klopp and Mourinho have faced each other five times before. There were words exchanged between the two, things were said, but it was Klopp who came out victorious three times against the mercurial Portuguese. As the world gears up for the titanic clash on Monday night, we take a look at the past meetings between the two managers and how they panned out:
#1 Borussia Dortmund 2-1 Real Madrid (Champions League Group D, October 2012)
Klopp and Mourinho first went head-to-head when they were in charge at Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively in a Champions League group clash. Both the teams were part of the group of death with then-English Champions Manchester City and Dutch heavyweights Ajax.
Cristiano Ronaldo scored the only goal for Los Blancos but could not help his team take any points at the Westfalenstadion as goals from Polish striker Robert Lewandowski and German left-back Marcel Schmelzer either side of the half-time sealed the victory for Dortmund and Klopp in what was a thrilling contest between the two sides.
The German side let Madrid have the ball for the most of the game and hit them on the counter, beating Madrid at their own game. Klopp, after the match, said, “It feels overwhelming. It was a sensational evening, and you can only imagine something like this in your wildest dreams”, describing the emotions on beating the 11 time Champions League winners.