Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he is not like Sir Alex Ferguson and has “no skills for mind games” as he faced questions about Sunday’s match against league leaders Manchester United.
The bitter rivals find themselves first and second in the table, with United leading the champions by three points.
Klopp queried United’s penalty count recently, which was met by criticism from ex-referee Mark Clattenburg.
“Am I surprised someone’s talking about what I have said? No,” said Klopp.
“Am I surprised that Mark Clattenburg speaks about it? No. But it’s nice for him we can talk about him as well.
“But I am not Sir Alex for different reasons. When people like Mark Clattenburg speak now it always says much more about them than it could ever about me.
“I have no skills for playing mind games, that is my problem.”
Following the defeat by Southampton in January, Klopp questioned why United “had more penalties in two years than I had in five and a half years”.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have been awarded 20 spot-kicks since the start of last season – twice as many as Liverpool, and since Klopp took over in October 2015 the tally is 67-46 in United’s favour.
Manchester United, 20-time champions, have been in brilliant form since 7 November – winning nine of their 11 matches and drawing the other two. They are top of the league after New Year’s Day for the first time since Ferguson’s final title win in 2013.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have 16 fewer points than they did at this stage last season.
However, Solskjaer said he was not reading too much into his side’s position after 17 games.
“You don’t get anything for being at the top of the league in January, it’s not ever something we have valued,” the club’s Norwegian former striker said.
“Being where we are in the league just gives us more confidence and it’s a sign of where we are at. The game against the champions, who have an amazing record at Anfield, is a great test for us.
“Can we go there and cause an upset? We are the challengers and they have earned the right to be champions.
“We want something they have. If you look at the results in the last few seasons, it [victory] would be an upset.”
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