Jurgen Klopp previews Manchester United clash
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Manchester United clash with north-west rivals Liverpool this afternoon and the fixture between the Premier League heavyweights has brought back memories of a bizarre incident between Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and forward Sadio Mane.
Liverpool defeated United 4-2 with four games remaining last season. Their win was part of a thrilling 10-match unbeaten run which saw them make a late dash for a Champions League place.
The three points moved Klopp’s side into fifth, even though the German had ruled out a top-four finish as late as March.
Bruno Fernandes had put United ahead and on their way to boosting their chances of finishing runners-up, with rivals Manchester City almost confirmed as league champions.
However, Diogo Jota equalised before Roberto Firmino struck a brace to hand Liverpool a 3-1 lead.
Marcus Rashford pulled a goal back for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side but Mohamed Salah struck a fourth for the Merseyside outfit.
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However, one of the more interesting moments of the contest came after the final whistle. A rare public falling out between Klopp and one of his players saw Mane snub his coach’s handshake.
The Senegal striker, Klopp conceded, had been angered after the 54-year-old made a late switch to his line-up. Mane was expecting to start but was replaced by Jota.
“No, no problem. Yesterday I made a late decision in training to decide for Diogo,” Klopp told Sky Sports after the game in an attempt to play down the spat.
“The boys are used to me explaining things usually but there was actually no time for that and that’s all. It’s all fine.”
Contrary to his excellent form this term, in which he has scored six goals in 11 games, Mane struggled last season. He had scored just nine Premier League goals before the clash at Old Trafford in May.
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Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness slammed the 29-year-old’s conduct at the time.
“It’s disrespectful. It’s never happened to me but if I were the manager, I would not be happy,” Souness raged.
“I think he should have shaken his hand, he didn’t want to cuddle, but you should show a bit of respect. It’s most importantly disrespectful to the football club.
“Yeah, he’s not happy at being left out, but can he really argue? He’s not had a great season, how can he argue with the fact he’s been a sub and Liverpool have won 4-2 at Old Trafford which is not a happy hunting ground for them.”
United icon Roy Keane agreed but questioned managers who enter the pitch to shake hands with their players after the game.
He said his former boss Sir Alex Ferguson would never have done so.
“The player is out of order, but there’s a new trend among managers – going on the pitch, giving everyone high fives,” the Irishman sighed.
“When I was a player, I didn’t want the manager giving me high fives.
“If we’d won the league, maybe, but even then I’d be doubtful. If he sees the player’s upset, just back away. It’s bad enough your manager, but the opposition manager going round and giving everyone high fives.”
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