Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has said he almost rang a UK radio station to defend rivals Manchester United from fierce criticism.
United have endured a miserable start to the Premier League season and sit bottom of the table following defeats to Brighton and Brentford.
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After the 4-0 loss at Brentford, former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor slammed United on talkSPORT and Klopp hit back at the pundit’s comments.
“It was not a nice week for United after Brentford. We forget how good Brentford are,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday. “I watched the first half and then drove home and listened on the radio to talkSPORT.
“Gabby Agbonlahor — he lost against us 6-0 in my first year and I couldn’t remember him as a mentality monster on the pitch but what he said about United on that show…I was close to calling in and telling him you forgot completely you have been a player.
“If ex players go already like this then you can imagine how everything else is going. You just have to ask yourself how you would want to react in a situation like this. They will want to fight back, that’s completely normal and it’s what we expect.”
Klopp’s side travel to Old Trafford on Monday and he is confident United will have extra motivation, and said he would have preferred to play their bottom-placed opponents following victories rather than defeats.
Liverpool thrashed their bitter rivals 5-0 and 4-0 last season but Klopp reminded fans that his side have not made a great start to their campaign.
“Of course, I would prefer to play them after they win 5-0 but it isn’t dreamland, that’s how it is,” he added. “We drew twice too, so is it better to play us? I don’t know.
“We have to deal with all the situations. The whole world will watch it, let’s see how these heavyweights deal with the situation.
“The last two results, I knew already wouldn’t help this time. I couldn’t be less interested in the results from last season… It helps United to be more motivated if that’s possible.
“This is a completely different game in a completely different situation. United can change nothing or everything, so it’s tricky preparation-wise, but it’s early and we don’t have a lot of info. It’s tough… United away will never be easy.”
Klopp said defender Joe Gomez will start after coming off the bench in their 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace while forward Roberto Firmino is also available after shaking off a minor muscle issue.
Information from Reuters was included in this report.