Jurgen Klopp and German compatriot Ralf Rangnick are close, but the Liverpool manager says they are keeping each other at arm’s length after his friend joined Manchester United
Jurgen Klopp had just two words for his warm relationship with Ralf Rangnick.
And that shows the extent of the intense rivalry with Manchester United, which he says will ensure his side have no problem refocusing on their Premier League challenge after a huge FA Cup semi-final win over Manchester City on Saturday. The Liverpool boss is close with his countryman Rangnick, but says they have not spoken since he arrived at Old Trafford: “Our relationship? On hold, ”he explained.
“We did not have contact since he was in England, that is mutual respect, I respect his job, he respects mine. I can not make it Klopp-Rangnick or Rangnick-Klopp. He took a difficult job, no time to get there. You can see the changes he made, the parts he improved and that is it. When we know we prepare the United game I did not think about Ralf at that moment. You watch the teams, it’s a very important football game, but the managers probably will not score the decisive goals! ”
Klopp did have more words to describe the rivalry with Manchester United, which is widely regarded as the most intense and combustible in English football. And he did not mince those words when describing the importance of their upcoming showdown in a game he insisted his players would be up for.
“Big game, massive game, massive history around, big fights here,” he said. “Look, whatever would have happened at Wembley, we concentrate on the Manchester United game. It makes it easier for us. This is Man Utd. It is for us a massive one. The moment they produce the fixture list it is one of the first fixtures you look for. Two of the biggest clubs in the world for sure face each other. Massive history, big fights in the past, big fights since I am here. ”
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Klopp believes this is the biggest yet – with his side pursuing the title in a race with Man City where they dare not lose, and United knowing defeat could destroy their top four hopes.
“They want the three points we need. That’s that attitude we have to show, ”he said. “We have to be angry in a good way, greedy, like you are if you have won nothing and would be with nil points and it’s the most important three points in your life. That’s the attitude we need for this game. Otherwise the quality is too high, they (United) are too good for not being in that mood. ”