Jurgen Klopp relishing first Manchester United clash as Liverpool boss
By Michael Kelleher
Last Updated: 15/01/16 4:35pm
Jurgen Klopp has called derbies "the salt in the soup" of football ahead of Sunday’s pivotal clash with rivals Manchester United.
Liverpool head into the game at Anfield three points and three places behind Louis van Gaal's side but can erase that gap with a win and Klopp is looking forward to his first taste of the famed fixture.
Looking ahead to the game, which will be shown live on Sky Sports, Klopp said: "I love derbies. It is the salt in the soup. They are the best things in football.
"Sunday is important for the table because we are close together. Both teams need the points."
Both teams come into the game on the back of thrilling 3-3 draws in midweek, with United conceding a last-minute equaliser to Newcastle and Joe Allen securing a point for Liverpool with a late strike against Arsenal.
Klopp was impressed with the atmosphere at Anfield for the game against title favourites Arsenal but he thinks the Kop can go one better when Liverpool's age-old rivals United visit.
"It's a special game for me and for the club," said Klopp. "I enjoyed the atmosphere v Arsenal but I think we can do better."
Sunday will mark the renewal of an old rivalry for former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp with Louis van Gaal, with the pair winning two games each in their meetings during the Dutchman's time in charge of Bayern Munich.
The pair have brought vastly different styles to the Premier League, both in their style of play and their persona on the touchline, but Klopp maintains a lot of respect for the United manager and knows he will have to devise an excellent game-plan if his team are to win on Sunday.
"Louis van Gaal is one of the most successful coaches in world football: he has his ideas on football and you have to respect this," Klopp said. "We have to watch what we can find out and make a plan.
"You will not win against Man United because you ran 145 miles or something. You have to make the right decisions.
"Of course you can be over-motivated. That's possible. You don't need to think too much about motivation in these games, but you need the balance. That's what football is all about.
"If you don't do the right thing in the moment, you have to run more. Mistakes, you can only solve with your legs. You have to defend well because they have brilliant players. Two days to go, we can prepare.
"We are different characters. He [Van Gaal] is more experienced. Maybe I'm more lively on the touchline than him."
Since taking over at Anfield, Klopp has come in for strong praise from Sir Alex Ferguson who tipped the Reds to "do very well" under the German when he was appointed.
It was an honour to talk with him. Maybe he's greatest ever - the John Lennon of football.
Jurgen Klopp on Sir Alex Ferguson
The pair have forged a relationship in recent years after meeting at various coaching seminars and Klopp went so far as to compare the Scot to a Liverpool legend when asked about him.
"I had really good moments with Sir Alex," Klopp said. "It was an honour to talk with him. Maybe he's greatest ever - the John Lennon of football."
When the 48-year-old was told of Ferguson's worry of him doing well at Liverpool, Klopp said: "That's good, but now I have to prove it!"