Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp shuts down question that makes 'no sense' ahead of Man City

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has brutally shut down a question about the highly-anticipated clash between Virgil van Dijk and Erling Haaland ahead of Manchester City’s visit to Anfield on Sunday. All eyes will be on Merseyside this weekend, but Klopp has been quick to declare that focusing on the advertised Van Dijk vs Haaland showdown ‘makes no sense’.

Van Dijk has cemented his reputation as Europe’s best defender in recent seasons. But Haaland has taken the Premier League by storm, scoring 15 times in his first nine appearances, and hasn’t yet gone a league game without registering at least one goal involvement.

Speaking in the build-up to Sunday’s clash of the titans, Klopp played down propositions that Haaland would be solely Van Dijk’s responsibility. The German coach suggested he ‘doesn’t understand’ talk of the duel and wants his entire team to work together to nullify the 22-year-old’s threat.

He said: “There will be moments when a defender, maybe Virgil or whoever, is in a one v one situation with Erling Haaland, but this story I don’t understand in modern football. It’s not like we play man-marking all over the pitch, and the only player Haaland will face is Virgil.

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“They played against each other, and there were moments when Virgil got the better of him, and I remember other moments… I remember the situation when Robbo [Andrew Robertson] tried to get him off the ball and ran into him, and it looks like he ran against a wall! We have a pitch of 106 by 65 metres, and we talk about a battle of one v one between two players, and that makes no sense.”

Klopp reserved praise for Haaland, labelling the prolific Norwegian ‘exceptional’ and ‘special’, but insisted his players know what they need to do to stop his relentless goalscoring spree.

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“He didn’t start against us [in 2019]. He was injured and came on and scored anyway! Physically he sets new standards, the combination of being really physical and technical with sensational awareness, his orientation on the pitch is exceptional,” Klopp added.

“The package makes him special, but we know what we have to do. It is a football problem. There are moments where you have to suffer, but there are others where you have to be dominant as well – finding the right balance is the challenge.”

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