The Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, has aimed a dig at Manchester United by suggesting his club had saved a fortune by not having to pay off as many coaches as their rivals in recent years.
When the German arrived at Anfield in 2015, Louis van Gaal was in charge at Old Trafford. Since then, another five managers have warmed the dugout – José Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjær, Michael Carrick, Ralf Rangnick and now Erik ten Hag.
Before Monday night’s trip to face United in the Premier League, Klopp suggested it must have been a costly exercise. “Imagine the money Liverpool saved from not paying [any other managers] off,” he joked. “I should have said that when I signed the last contract. It would have been an interesting number.”
Klopp also admitted that with so many changes in the United hot seat, it is difficult for him to prepare an established game plan, as it is constantly changing. “Always a different Manchester United,” he added. “That would make me unnecessary as well, if everyone could sit here and it would always look the same, so of course it depends who is in charge. They all play different, very different. Van Gaal to Mourinho – that was very different. You have to prepare completely differently [each time] and we will.”
Klopp has had very few bumps in the road since arriving in England, having won the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup. United’s latest incumbent has endured a difficult start, losing his first two matches, with criticism already raining down on his players.
The Liverpool manager was asked whether he had any sympathy for his opposite number, even if he was in charge of their big rivals. “No. It’s football problems – we have problems,” he said. “I’m not sure if you go to Manchester United and ask Erik ten Hag if we have a few too many injuries [he would sympathise]. It is not like this. It is not necessary that I feel sympathy. It would not help them, would not harm them. We all have our own problems.”
Klopp said the pressure was the same managing a club like United as any other, but that the focus was sharper on the top clubs. “When I arrived seven years ago I don’t think we hit the ground running immediately. We played a good game at Tottenham but drew,” he said. “It was not that everyone said ‘Oh my God, you can see it immediately’ but I can say I didn’t read anything and that makes it easier.
“You are not over the moon about your own results and you know what people might say so you just focus on work and go for the little steps, and I’m pretty sure in each club it is the same. The bigger clubs you talk more about them. If we are strong enough not to read that you can have an OK life and just work on the important stuff and that’s what I’ve done in seven years. That helps me and it’s the only advice I could give.”