Jürgen Klopp has dismissed Jose Mourinho’s claims Liverpool have an unfair advantage in the race for Champions League places.
Mourinho has complained about Manchester United’s fixture schedule and injury luck as they seek the victory over Swansea this weekend that would take them above Liverpool.
While Klopp accepts United’s difficulties, he suggested there was little sympathy for his own club when they faced the same demands a year ago.
He also thinks United’s squad is such they are equipped to deal with so many games.
“It’s not unfair. It is the situation. Nobody asked us last year how we felt about it,” said Klopp.
“I can imagine what he means but they have played a similar season to what we had last year, although unfortunately we were not in a position to play for Champions League.
“Obviously they also have a different squad, a wider squad, and with all of their injury problems they had so far they are still able to put out teams and you think Mkhitaryan isn’t playing? Rooney isn’t playing? And him, and him? It is different, but of course it is hard. They have seven or eight games left – five in the Premier League, a semi-final and maybe a final – and yes that is hard, absolutely, but we had a similar situation last season.”
Klopp hopes some of his injury problems will ease with the return of Adam Lallana at Watford on Monday.
On Friday, the club confirmed a new four year deal for centre-half Dejan Lovren, whose contract is worth just under £100,000 a week.
The Croatian’s extension was not met with universal approval from Liverpool supporters following recent inconsistent displays, but Klopp argued the negativity came from those with short memories.
“In a situation like this I know how football supporters think,” said Klopp.
“If you had asked them after the Dortmund game [when Lovren scored the winning goal last season] they would have said give him a 20-year contract.
When you see the Crystal Palace game they think ‘can we find another team who could have him?’
“The truth is in between. In a situation like this you have to look outside. If Dejan played for another club you’d think about signing him and then you think what you’d have to pay for him and it would be a big number of money.
“It is better giving him a new contract, working with him because he is 27 years old and the best time for a centre-half is still to come.
“I don’t know a lot about it but I heard he had a difficult start at Liverpool but he has really settled.
“He is physically strong, quick and a good footballer. Sometimes decision-making could be better but no-one out there – and we watch a lot – is perfect.
“We really think he can help us a lot and we can help him in these few decisive parts of his game and that is what we want to do.”