Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp / AFP / PAUL ELLIS
Jurgen Klopp has warned Liverpool not to underestimate Hull when they try to revive their title challenge at the Premier League strugglers on Saturday.
Klopp’s side must go one better than Manchester United and beat Hull in the league after the Tigers ground out a goalless draw at Old Trafford in midweek.
In the midst of a difficult period, Liverpool looked back to something approaching their best in a spirited 1-1 draw against leaders Chelsea on Tuesday.
But Liverpool, trailing 10 points behind Chelsea, have won just one of their nine fixtures in 2017 and Klopp believes second-bottom Hull will offer tough opposition despite their lowly position.
“I was really impressed by the way they played against Man United,” Klopp said. “They did not look like a team one place from bottom of the division.
“They played United three times in the league and cup, that’s not easy to do, and they did really well against them.”
Klopp admits he was fortunate to avoid punishment following his highly publicised confrontation with fourth official Neil Swarbrick this week — an escape which enraged United manager Jose Mourinho.
Klopp bellowed aggressively in Swarbrick’s face during his team’s draw with Chelsea, shouting “No one can beat us”.
According to Klopp, the official replied: “No problem, I like your passion.”
Just 24 hours later, Mourinho made reference to the incident while claiming he was threatened with a sending off for similar behaviour during United’s frustrating draw with Hull.
“I think it depends on the fourth official. We all know what we can do,” Klopp said.
“When I saw the picture of me afterwards it didn’t look too nice but it was not as bad as it looked so that is why I said what happened.
“Maybe I was lucky with what the fourth official said because I’ve never heard something like this before.
“There are different ways to handle the situation. It is quite an emotional game and to switch off emotions is not that simple.
“We struggle — not only myself and Jose but Arsene Wenger and a lot of other people struggle.”
– Battling –
Hull manager Marco Silva has urged his players to build on the battling point at United which lifted his side off the bottom of the table.
The Tigers are set to be backed by the KCOM Stadium’s biggest crowd of the season — in excess of 24,000 — as they go in search of only a second league win in three months.
“The result at Old Trafford is one that will give us confidence to take into another difficult game,” Silva said.
“We showed exactly the kind of character, attitude and organisation we need for the rest of the season, and showed also that we have some quality in the team.
“It was a valuable point, but we know that we need more than that to achieve our goal.”
Kamil Grosicki, the Poland midfielder signed from French side Rennes on deadline day, is in contention to make his debut for a Hull side four points adrift of safety in their attempts to avoid an immediate return to the Championship.
“We have a tough schedule at the moment, but we are improving with each game,” Silva said.