Jurgen Klopp is confident Liverpool will keep their discipline at Old Trafford today – telling anyone who doubts him to count the cards.
Klopp’s side will go three points clear at the top of the Premier League if they beat a Manchester United side who have won 11 out of 13 matches in all competitions since the sides last met two months ago.
It is a fixture that has had a fair few flashpoints down the years. Steven Gerrard picked up two of his eight career red cards against United, Gary Neville was once condemned for over-celebrating a late winner and, most notoriously of all, Luis Suarez picked up an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, then refused to shake the Frenchman’s hand the next time they met.
United’s form under caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suggests that this may be as tough a test as Liverpool face during the run-in.
Whatever happens, though, Klopp is certain that his players will maintain their discipline.
He points to the fact that they have received just 24 yellow cards in the Premier League this season, fewer than anyone else.
He said: ‘Go back over the past 10 years. I have been here for three years and four months now; I was at Dortmund for seven years. My teams were always top three in the Fair Play.
‘I’m 100 per cent sure that somebody will now take that as a negative and say it’s because you don’t make the fouls at the right moments, and stuff like that. We are really ready to dig in, to step in to each situation and challenge, but not to start fouling. We don’t do that.
‘I heard already from other people that it’s not smart. But I cannot change my personality. The boys don’t change.
‘They don’t try to go into a situation by being overly aggressive. It doesn’t mean it can’t happen in a game like this against United, but it’s not part of the plan.’ Victory would go a long way towards aiding Liverpool’s pursuit of a first English league title since 1990, yet Klopp is not getting too excited.
He said: ‘What do you mean by significant? More than three points? No. We have to play Tottenham. We have to play Chelsea. We play Everton and Watford in the next week.
‘So Watford at home, they have been unbelievable this year on counter attacks.
‘If they could be 100 per cent consistent, they would be in the top six.
‘Then you have Everton, and we all know for them, it’s a kind of World Cup final.
‘So with all that stuff, how can we celebrate one win?’Daily Mail