For Manchester United, victories don’t come any better than one at Anfield.
Since Jurgen Klopp took the reins as Liverpool manager a little over two years ago, he has faced United three times while being in the home dugout – United and Liverpool have one win a piece with the other meeting ending in a draw.
United’s last win at Anfield came in January 2016 when Klopp came up against Van Gaal – Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game ten minutes from time.
With Van Gaal now retired, his rivalry with Klopp is no longer present. When the pair faced off in Germany on two occasions and in England three times, it ended honours even – two wins a piece for Van Gaal and Klopp along with a 1-1 draw between United and Liverpool in the UEFA Europa League last 16 tie in March 2016.
Van Gaal’s successor and former apprentice Jose Mourinho can’t boast such a record against Klopp. In seven meetings between the current United and Liverpool managers, Klopp has come out very much on top. Mourinho has won just one game out of seven against the current Liverpool manager.
When Klopp famously took his Borussia Dortmund side to the UEFA Champions League final in the 2012/13 season, he faced Mourinho’s star-studded Real Madrid four times – twice in the group stage before meeting again in the semi-finals.
Despite a wealth of talent for Real Madrid, Dortmund proved a big obstacle to their progress that season.
The German side topped a group containing themselves, Real Madrid, Ajax Amsterdam and Manchester City – finishing the group unbeaten.
Real Madrid were stopped in their tracks at Signal Iduna Park in October 2012, before a month later when Mesut Ozil salvaged a point with a last minute free-kick at the Santiago Bernabeu in a 2-2 draw.
The semi-final meetings were even more frustrating for Mourinho as Los Blancos went down 4-3 on aggregate to Dotmund. Mourinho’s only win against a Klopp side came in the second leg, but a 2-0 home win for Real wasn’t enough to overturn the 4-1 defeat they suffered in Germany a week previously.
The managers wouldn’t face off again for over two years when the former-Dortmund manager continued his impressive record against Mourinho with a 3-1 win against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, early into his tenure as Liverpool manager.
Since the pair have renewed their rivalry in England when Mourinho took charge of United last year, two draws have left the next chapter of Klopp versus Mourinho even more intriguing.
Going into the game, Mourinho’s men are looking like a force not to be reckoned with. United’s £565.75 million squad are showing their value so far this season – scoring 21 goals in the Premier League this season, conceding just two.
In contrast, Liverpool have only won two of their last eight games and they have conceded 12 goals in the Premier League this season, scoring just one more than they have conceded.
On the flip side, in a game of this magnitude the form book goes out of the window entirely.
Liverpool will also be encouraged by the fact that since Klopp took over; they have only lost two out of 23 matches against last season’s top seven rivals (Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd and Everton).
When the big games come around, Liverpool appear to raise their game under Klopp and his sides certainly have a history of raising their game when he comes up against Mourinho’s teams.
Although Mourinho inflicted defeat on Klopp for the first and only time in May 2013, the sweet taste of victory would not have been present as his Real Madrid side crashed out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage for the third consecutive year.
Two draws last season meant that neither manager tasted victory when they faced off in the league.
The Anfield encounter was a rather dull one, as United played out for a goalless draw – a result the Portuguese boss would have been satisfied with.
The same cannot be said if the game ends in the same scoreline this lunchtime. With Liverpool’s star performer so far this season Sadio Mane ruled out with a hamstring injury, Mourinho will be fancying his chances to get one over on Klopp for just the second time in his eighth meeting against the two-time Bundesliga winner.
It promises to be an absolute cracker for the fans, but for Mourinho there is even more at stake as he looks to end his hoodoo against Klopp.