Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has described Saturday’s Premier League fixture at Manchester United as “the biggest game I can imagine”.
The Reds go into the match at Old Trafford two points behind United, knowing a victory will mean they climb above Jose Mourinho’s team into second.
However, the Anfield side are 18 points behind runaway leaders Manchester City.
“I’m looking forward to it,” said Klopp. “We need to be at 100% – if not even a few more.”
While the fixture is unlikely to directly impact on the title race, it does still carry huge historical importance for supporters of English football’s two most successful clubs.
Both are also still involved in the Champions League, with United hoping to progress past Sevilla next week to join Liverpool in the quarter-finals of Europe’s elite club competition.
Under Mourinho, United have established the best home defensive record in the Premier League, conceding just six goals at Old Trafford this season.
At times, the Portuguese’s tactics have led to criticism from pundits and supporters. In particular, Mourinho was accused of employing overly negative tactics and ‘parking the bus’ when the teams drew 0-0 at Anfield in October.
However, Klopp insists that he has no issues with the approach of his counterpart.
“I would never use that [phrase]. I have absolutely no problem with defending. It’s all about winning,” said the German.
“When United attack, I hope all my players are involved in defending. If someone says that is ‘parking the bus’, I have no problem with that.”
Mourinho’s team go into the game buoyed by their 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace on Monday – the second occasion in consecutive fixtures that they have recovered from a deficit to win.
That match was broadcast by Sky Sports and former United defender Gary Neville was critical of aspects of their play, while ex-Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness has also regularly taken aim at Mourinho’s side.
“Some of the guys with an opinion, they couldn’t resolve their own problems when they were managers,” Mourinho said.
“So they are giving opinions like they have solutions for everything – but it is not like that.
“Sometimes I read; sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I listen; sometimes I don’t.
“Honestly, this week I was more focused on enjoying the Champions League and Europa League and preparing my match than being focused on opinions. – BBC.