Jürgen Klopp was right about Man Utd as Erik ten Hag 'firing' only adds to Liverpool frustration

Jürgen Klopp and Erik ten Hag shake hands before Liverpool vs Manchester United.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester United will fire head coach Erik ten Hag no matter what happens in the FA Cup final this weekend. Though few people believe that it has a chance against Manchester City at Wembley, the decision has already been made to get rid of the Dutchman.

That is according to The Guardian, with the Old Trafford side having finished eighth in the Premier League standings. It is a similar situation to when Louis van Gaal won the cup in 2016 but left regardless that summer.

It remains to be seen who might take over at Manchester United but Chelsea parted ways with Mauricio Pochettino earlier this week and the Argentine is highly thought of. Gareth Southgate has also been mentioned as a possibility for the role, while Graham Potter is admired, Kieran McKenna is drawing interest from several clubs, and Thomas Tuchel is out of work too.

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And the decision is, ultimately, the right one: should Ten Hag be fired, he could have no complaints. Manchester United has been terrible for most of the season, relying on individual moments to overcome several substantial limitations. Against Liverpool in two of the three meetings this season, it effectively played without a midfield department. It also ended one match with Antony and Bruno Fernandes playing in its back four, with Ten Hag failing to get the best out of his players, or a proper system in place.

But that only makes it even more incredulous that Liverpool failed to win even once against Ten Hag's team. At Anfield, it drew 0-0 despite peppering the Manchester United goal with 34 shots. In the two away fixtures, Liverpool racked up another 53 shots (making it 87 in 300 minutes of football in total) but the Reds didn't win once.

Not only that, but the matches against Manchester United, in which Liverpool created plenty but failed to win, were pinpointed as the turning point in the title race. Had Liverpool found a way to win, perhaps it could have stayed in Premier League title contention a little longer.

"You can see we are in a rush in front of the goal, you can see that," Jürgen Klopp admitted after his side lost 2-0 to Everton at Goodison Park. "It’s long ago but I blame a little bit the [Manchester] United game for it; that many chances and you play really good but you don’t get anything for it.

"That’s really bad. Since then, we create but we don’t score often enough and that doesn’t help. It’s not like in a situation like that you don’t score and then just [think], ‘Ah, forget it, who cares?’ You cannot act like you scored 15 goals in the last two games or whatever.

"You can see that and that’s a problem. It’s always like this: you have to fight through these periods, it was never different. People asked me already about mentality. The mentality has different aspects. It’s not a problem of attitude."

Manchester United has been poorly coached for a couple of seasons, and Ten Hag has made several questionable signings. But in Klopp's final season, Liverpool somehow failed to come out on top in the head-to-heads.

The German was right about the Manchester United games being the ones that turned the tide for his side. If Ten Hag departs, it will only add to the wondering about how on earth Liverpool didn't beat them.