In Review

Man Utd vs Liverpool: Can Klopp kill off Mourinho dreams?

The Reds' German coach is the only top manager that the Special One has failed to get the better of over the years

 

Liverpool travel to Old Trafford on Sunday in the knowledge that a victory over Manchester United could put paid once and for all to any lingering hopes the hosts have of winning their first League title since 2013. 

 

Trailing leaders Chelsea by ten points, and Liverpool by five, United must win to keep alive their faint title ambitions. On the plus side for Jose Mourinho is the fact his side are on a ten-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League (the best run of form since the Alex Ferguson era), undefeated since losing 4-0 away at Chelsea on 23 October. But what will be gnawing away ever so slightly at the self-assured Special One is the awareness that Jurgen Klopp is the one coach he hasn't been able to get the better off over the years.

 

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has an infamous track record against Mourinho, winning just once in 16 games against his nemesis (and that sole victory came in the Community Shield). Across north London, Tottenham Mauricio Pochettino has won one of his 11 matches against Mourinho, while Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola can at least hold his head a little higher, having won eight of his 18 matches against the Manchester United manager.

 

Even the great Alex Ferguson was victorious in just two of his 16 head-to-heads with the Portuguese preener.

 

In contrast, notes Sky Sports, Jurgen Klopp "boasts an impressive record in his six previous meetings with Mourinho" with three wins, two draws and only one defeat. And even that 2-0 reverse had extenuating circumstances as it came in the second leg of the 2013 Champions League semi-final after his Borussia Dortmund side had thrashed Mourinho's Real Madrid 4-1 in the first leg.

 

The most humiliating defeat for Mourinho on English soil was in 2015 when Liverpool beat Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge, the first Premier League win of Klopp's Anfield reign. The only previous time they've met while in charge of their current sides was last October, a dour 0-0 draw at Liverpool. United parked the proverbial bus on the Anfield turf, and managed just one shot, one corner, and 35 per cent of possession - their lowest such statistic in a Premier League match since Opta began recording the data in 2003.

 

Mourinho, whose side beat Hull 2-0 in Tuesday night's EFL semi-final, probably won't read too much into Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at Southampton in the same stage of the competition on Wednesday, even though BBC Sport describes it as Liverpool's "worst performance under Klopp".

 

The man himself expressed his dismay at the result, saying: "We have to show a reaction... because we probably need a better performance to get something at Old Trafford."

 

The only positive for the German was the return to action of Philippe Coutinho, the influential Brazilian coming on for the last 30 minutes after seven weeks out with an ankle injury. He's still some way short of match fitness but even an undercooked Coutinho will worry United. 

 

 

Premier League debut for spidercam as Man Utd face Liverpool

12 January

Spidercam will make its Premier League debut during Sunday's clash between Manchester United and Liverpool.

The camera, which is suspended on wires to follow the action from above, was first used at football matches during the 2010 World Cup but, despite having been used in European competition, has not been used in the English league until now.

"The structure at Old Trafford was given council approval on Monday and the footage is set to become a key component of the Sky coverage with the broadcaster rolling out its full stable of leading names - Jamie Carragher, Thierry Henry, Graeme Souness, Gary Neville and Jamie Redknapp - for the Sunday clash," says the Daily Mail.

Sky Sports engineers began installing the wires and pulleys at United's ground on Wednesday.

Gary Hughes, head of football at the broadcaster, said: "A game as big as Manchester United against Liverpool feels like the right time to use it for the first time in a Premier League fixture.

"It will mostly come into its own at set-pieces, like free-kicks, corners or penalties, when it can go directly above the action and give you the fullest view looking down directly on what is happening. I think it will become a big tool in analysis."

Spidercam can move at up to 20mph and will film from heights between 30ft and 130ft above the pitch.

"The technology has already been used in Sky's cricket coverage, although there have been occasional mishaps, including a shot from India's Virat Kohli that hit the camera in an ODI against Australia last year," says the Daily Mirror.

"Sky are satisfied the camera will not affect play during a Premier League match as the structure will retreat to the height of the stadium for goal-kicks and when the goalkeepers are in possession."

However, the broadcaster will not be able to control the quality of the game and the Daily Telegraph says it will be hoping its new investment "has more to look at than it would have in the reverse fixture in October, when Liverpool and United drew 0-0 at Anfield in a particularly dour edition of Monday Night Football".

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