Liverpool are at the centre of a circus - Klopp ignoring hype surrounding Manchester United clash
Jurgen Klopp believes Liverpool are at the centre of a circus surrounding this weekend's blockbuster clash with Manchester United and has told his players to ignore the hype.
Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on the back of a 17-game winning run in the Premier League, including eight in a row at the start of the campaign to sit top.
United are 15 points worse off than their bitter rivals in 12th, their poor form seeing the pressure build on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his first full season in charge.
Given the sides' contrasting fortunes in recent times, certain pundits have claimed this week that no United player would make it into Liverpool's starting line-up, but Klopp has accused the media of setting up his side up to fail.
Asked how he copes with the talk that comes with such a high-profile fixture, Klopp said: "Ignore it! This game is so easy, the game everyone around it plays.
"Sky made a combined line-up and had 11 Liverpool players. That's like a joke, like building a banana skin. The world in the moment is a circus, and we are at the centre - a couple of people want us to win, a couple want us to lose."
He added: "I love [the occasion], but the talk is so loud. It's exciting for the media. All the stats, the things around it ... in the end we have to play football. That's all I am concerned about, this mix between outstanding attitude and really brave football. That's what we have to try.
"But all the things you wrote or said in the last few weeks, they don't have any influence on the game. It just makes them more desperate to change the situation. They will try that, 100 per cent, but we will try to improve our situation. We will see who wants it more."
Sunday's match will be the first time Liverpool have faced United in a Premier League contest while being top of the table since October 1996.
The hosts will be without key man Paul Pogba, while David de Gea and Anthony Martial are doubtful, but Klopp suggested Solskjaer may be playing mind games with his mixed messages over the fitness of the trio.
"Four days ago, I think Ole said 'no chance' for De Gea and Pogba. Today it's a 'maybe', tomorrow it's a '100 per cent', Martial will back, all that stuff," he said at his pre-match news conference.
"That's how all these games are played - I've got no problem with that. But in the end, I'm old enough, we are experienced enough to judge all the things in the right way."Modified 21 Dec 2019, 00:47 IST