The managers are reluctant to pick between two iconic Premier League players, saying both bring obvious qualities to the table
Jurgen Klopp is reluctant to draw comparisons between Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo, but says the Liverpool man has a better left foot and the Manchester United star is stronger in the air – while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will “always back” his man.
Two world-class performers are set to lock horns on Sunday at Old Trafford.
The eyes of the world will be on the Premier League battle, but Klopp is wary of picking sides when it comes to performers that boast such obvious qualities.
What has been said?
Asked about the similarities between Salah and Ronaldo, Liverpool boss Klopp said: “Why should we compare? Both are world-class. I would say Mo’s left foot is better, Cristiano may be better in the air and with his right foot. Speed-wise, both are quick and desperate to score goals but I’m not too interested in comparing, sorry.”
Salah has scored 12 goals in 11 appearances for Liverpool this season, with a couple of stunning solo efforts leading some to bill him as the best player on the planet.
Ronaldo has enjoyed that standing in the past as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, and has six efforts to his name for United in 2021-22 – including the dramatic Champions League winner against Atalanta last time out.
What about Solskjaer?
The Man United coach was also asked how he compares Salah and Ronaldo at his press conference, and said: “I’ll always back Cristiano in any competition. He’s unique and his goal scoring record is fantastic. That being said, Salah is on fire at the moment and when you see some of the goals he has scored lately, we know we have to be at our best to defend against him.
“Players like this don’t come around very often and we’ve got to enjoy them when we watch them from afar, but not on Sunday, that’s too close for me.
“We’ve got to do a good job, not just against him. I’m a big admirer of the front line they’ve had for many years now with Mane and Firmino and maybe Jota will play, who knows. They are players you have to focus on and have to be nailed on for 95 mins to keep a clean sheet.”
Who are favourites?
While Ronaldo helped get United over the line in their latest European outing, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side did fall two goals behind on home soil and Red Devils legend Paul Scholes has claimed Klopp would have been “rubbing his hands” together.
“I was watching game and there was not one second where I was rubbing my hands together,” Klopp said. “Even in the first half, United had three clear-cut chances. Second half was demonstration of United going for it, which can cause problems.”
More penalty drama?
Both sides will be hoping to avoid any controversial moments in Manchester this weekend, but sparks tends to fly. Klopp incurred the wrath of Solskjaer last season when discussing United’s penalty record, leading the United boss to suggest that referees were being impacted by such comments.
The Liverpool manager is eager to move on from that debate, saying: “We cannot influence refs with things like that. They are good, they go in the box, have these situations, but so do we and didn’t have even a similar number [of penalties].”