Reflecting on Manchester United 1 Liverpool 1 : Two contrasting identities battle out a fair draw
Posted by Bryan | Published on January 16, 2017
The self-proclaimed “Special One” coming up against the self-dubbed “Normal One” was a battle of two contrasting football colossus who could not be more different in their approaches but yet bore similarities that could not even more similar.
Jurgen Klopp as we all know is a major advocate for playing football with a swagger, his gegenpressing winning plaudits with Borussia Dortmund and now Liverpool. The charismatic German is also known for the close bonds he forms with his players; clearly demonstrated with his all too often post-match hugs and the highly animated exchanges he has with his players from the touch-line. Well-liked by the press, Klopp has since his arrival in England, handled the well-known to be difficult English press in an almost charming approach, choosing to charm his inquisitive interviewers with his infectious laughs rather than engage in any head-to-head arguments, although there has been instances when the German had to strike a more authoritative tone.
Jose Mourinho as we all know, is probably the most loved as well as the most hated Premier League manager, his immense trophy haul drawing grudging admiration from opponents and neutrals alike and of course there is that devoted admiration from fans of his current and former teams. Then there is his notorious reputation with the media and the FA, and not to mention his “special” relationships with Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola. Often accused of playing a pragmatic style of football focused solely on the aim of winning the match (some more critical individuals call it ‘parking the bus’ and ‘anti-football’) the Portuguese has been unapologetic for his methods, preferring to refer to the number of victories and famous trophies he had lifted. Controversial as it may be, Mourinho’s do play with a certain swagger, albeit in a very different light from Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ football. However, as antagonizing as he can be to his opponents, Mourinho is also known for forming deep bonds with his players, and his passion for the club he is at is unrivalled in terms of his stubborn defense of his team in virtually any circumstance.
On Sunday, these two footballing titans stood side by side amid the furore of Old Trafford, both equally determined to place their stamp on the game, both united in their desire to claim all three points as their teams and styles locked horns. The pair then literally clashed on the touchlines towards the end of the game, the German manager incensed by Ander Herrera’s unsporting pull on Roberto Firmino as Liverpool had looked to spring a counter, while Mourinho protested over Firmino’s reaction to the pull before appearing to stretch out an arm to calm down Klopp, which the German duly avoided.
Klopp had come out on top in the first half as he expertly deployed his side to stifle United’s forwards of any space and supply while attempting to unsettle their defence with the persistent pressing of attacking trio Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi and Adam Lallana. That did yield a lead for the visitors ultimately, albeit there was a slice of luck involved as Paul Pogba had bizarrely handballed when he should have known better.
However as valiantly as Liverpool, notably goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, threw their bodies on the line to thwart wave after wave of United attacks in the second-half, their Portuguese tactician ultimately did what he proclaimed he could do best by forcing a result in the end. But such was the force of United’s late rally after the introduction of Marouane Fellaini and the inevitable punts into the air that the Merseyside visitors had to pull together to survive the nervy final minutes.
A fair result in the end in a clash of two footballing giants who could not be more different from one another, yet could not be more similar to one another.
A football enthusiast and an aspiring journalist! Follow me on Twitter @lordofpendragon / https://twitter.com/lordofpendragon?lang=en 🙂