Klopp: 'Results machine' Man Utd firmly in Premier League title race
Jurgen Klopp has described Manchester United as a "results machine" and backed Liverpool's fierce rivals to compete all the way for the Premier League title.
United travel to Anfield on Sunday unbeaten in 11 matches and having lost only one of their 20 games since the World Cup break, winning 16 of those.
That run of form has propelled the Red Devils within 11 points of leaders Arsenal with a game in hand, while they ended a six-year trophy drought with a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United in the EFL Cup final last Sunday.
Indeed, no Premier League team has won more points than United (23) since the campaign resumed in December, which Klopp believes stands them in good stead to push for the title.
"They have turned into a results machine," Klopp said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "They are squeezing results out with some really good performances.
"They're playing some top football, and if it is not going so well for them they still get results. That's why they are there [in the table].
"Everyone knows it: they are fully in a fight to win the league. That's not really important for Sunday because we are there as well when we try to be at our best."
Marcus Rashford's goalscoring form has played a massive part in United's impressive first campaign under Erik ten Hag, particularly since the World Cup.
The England international has scored 10 goals in his past 10 league games, netting in each of his past five appearances, and has 25 goals for the season in all competitions.
Only Ruud van Nistelrooy (three separate runs), Eric Cantona (in April 1996) and Cristiano Ronaldo (in April 2008) have scored in six successive Premier League games for United.
While reluctant to praise any players of Liverpool's biggest foes, Klopp says it is hard not to take some joy from Rashford's upturn in fortunes.
"It's pretty much impossible to be happy about something positive at Manchester United when you are the Liverpool manager, but I am really happy for Rashford," Klopp said.
"He had a very difficult last year where he was not performing on the level that he is able to perform.
"I knew this would change again but sometimes in life we don't have enough time to change it. Now he is playing incredible. His speed, his technique – it is a mix of everything.
"How calm he is in front of goal. He scores worldies, he scores the simple ones, he can put his head in. All these kinds of things.
"We have to defend against that collectively. He is not their only world-class player."
With one trophy in the bag, United are still competing for silverware on three further fronts, whereas Liverpool are now effectively just battling for fourth place in the league.
The Reds trail Real Madrid 5-2 ahead of the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie, but Klopp is remaining upbeat heading into some key fixtures.
"I said before last game, this is a week to give the season a proper push. Now we have to make the next steps," he said.
"Nothing is done yet which is good for us. We all know everything is possible in football. We need to use our crowd in home games."
Liverpool are unbeaten in six home league games against United (W3 D3) since a 1-0 loss in January 2016 – their longest run without defeat since a run of nine in the 1970s.
United will be confident of ending that run on Merseyside this weekend, but Klopp insists form will play no part in what remains one of the biggest fixtures in the game.
"They have had a better season so far but thank God it means absolutely nothing on Sunday," Klopp said.
"We have to show it's still incredibly difficult to play against us. We have to make sure they realise that. I couldn't be less interested in what United are doing, I just respect it.
"It's what I enjoy most. Around these games we put ourselves out of this sometimes not so nice reality and dig into the game.
"Football is the most important thing for 98 minutes or whatever. I love that. The whole world will watch it. I would watch it if I was not here.
"It's 'the game'. They are playing a much better season than us but that means nothing. It doesn't mean you win the game, it just means you have more points."