Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has likened his first meeting with Manchester United as Liverpool manager on Sunday as being “a bit like Dortmund v Schalke” but he is well aware the stakes are far higher.
He met with former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson a few years ago – the same man who last month said he was worried by the German’s arrival at Anfield because of where he could take the Merseysiders – and it is something Klopp has never forgotten.
“I had a few really good moments with Alex and it was a big honour to talk to him,” he added.
“As a manager it is the best thing you can do, to sit there and listen – I needed 10 minutes to understand it all but maybe he is the greatest ever, the John Lennon of football or something.
“It was impressive to talk to him and from my side there is a big amount of respect because what he did in his life as a manager is not too easy to do again.”
Friday is Klopp’s 100th day in charge of Liverpool, taking in 21 matches, and has a 50 per cent win record which is just marginally behind Rafael Benitez, who had played only eight matches when he brought up his century.
It is not a landmark the Liverpool manager is paying too much attention to however.
“That is positive news but it is not the time to think about it too much because after 102 days we have an important game against Manchester United and what we want to do is make the record better,” he said.
“We could have done better, we could have done worse, some perfect moments, some average moments.
“Now we are really settled in and we know much more about the club and we have had a good time until now.
“In football the most important thing is results and we are going for it, I think everyone can see.
“Sometimes you have to make a step back so you can do the next step in the right direction.
“We need a little time. We are closer than we were a few weeks ago but it is not only our job. Manchester United are coming from the other direction.
“We can make a big step but maybe not the biggest of the season.”