Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho seem to share a rivalry deriving from the clubs they represent rather than any personal differences between them.
Without any significant conflict occurring during the lead-up to their first Premier League meeting at Anfield midway through October, much of the entertainment was instead expected to unfold on the pitch.
To the dismay of both sets of supporters and neutrals alike, the contest ended in the first goalless draw between the two sides in over a decade.
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United and Liverpool have gone on to experience vastly differing fortunes since the statement – the latter have notched up three wins on the bounce, whereas the Red Devils have picked up just a single point in league competition.
Some of the Old Trafford faithful may point towards European commitments as the reason for their downturn in form compared to the Reds – but not Klopp.
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The former Borussia Dortmund manager insists that while his men are not participating in any continental competition, it is a necessary aspect of being an elite club.
With this in mind, Klopp went on to take a sly dig at Mourinho, suggesting the Red Devils turbulent performances could see them bow out of the competition at the earliest stage possible.
“For the last six, seven years I was always travelling through Europe. I never thought: ‘this is too much’. If you want to be successful, you need European football," he said, as per 101GreatGoals.
“Watford didn’t travel last week. They have the same situation. We have to show we use the time for training over the whole season, not the first 10 games.
“Did you ask the same of Antonio Conte? They have the same situation.
“Maybe Manchester United have the same from January onwards?”
Whether United fans like it or not, Klopp is entirely accurate in his assessment of what it takes to compete with the best in the business.
So, irrespective of where the Europa League sits on his list of priorities this season, Mourinho stands to be the subject of further criticism should his side fall at the first hurdle of the competition.
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