Jurgen Klopp lauded Manchester United’s ‘difference-maker’ Bruno Fernandes ahead of Sunday’s heavyweight clash between Liverpool and the Red Devils.
Fernandes has been one of the division’s outstanding performers this season, having totted up 11 goals and seven assists in United’s 17 matches.
Bruno Fernandes is leading a title charge for Man United, who are currently top of the leagueAFP
The 26-year-old scooped his FOURTH Player of the Month award for December on Friday morning – a record of any player in a calendar year – and Klopp is wary of the threat he poses ahead of the highly-anticipated clash on Sunday.
“He’s an outstanding player,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference on Friday. “Before he joined United we played against Sporting on the USA tour and even in that game you could see… wow. “Everybody obviously knew of him but that was the first time one of my teams played against him and you could see he was the difference-maker.
“That’s what he shows now [at Manchester United], he’s settled, very influential player for United, involved in a lot of things.
Klopp has identified Bruno as his danger man ahead of the big match this weekendGetty – Pool
“I know people talk mostly about the goal involvements which is very important stuff but his link up in a lot of other situations is important as well.
“I don’t know him well enough to judge this but he seems to be a leader as well so, yeah, good signing unfortunately for United.”
Klopp also insists he is no Sir Alex Ferguson and has not been playing mind games in the build-up to Sunday’s visit of United.
Following the 1-0 defeat at Southampton 12 days ago, the Reds boss flagged up the disproportionate number of penalties United are winning compared to his own side.
Klopp’s comments are still being analysed and interpreted – by the likes of former referee Mark Clattenburg – almost two weeks later but the German rejected suggestions he was trying to win a psychological advantage ahead of their top-of-the-table clash.
“Am I surprised that somebody is talking about what I said about the Southampton game? No, I’m not,” he said.
“But I’m not Sir Alex, and for different reasons. When he (Clattenburg) said we tried something with mind games, I was speaking directly after the Southampton game.
“Between this moment and then we had another game (at Aston Villa) and I didn’t think for a second about the United game in that moment.
“But before the game against Southampton, I saw the stats about the penalties, and that’s what I mentioned.
“When people like Mark Clattenburg now are speaking like they speak, it always says much more about them than it could ever say about me.
“If he would be in my situation, he obviously would play mind games. Unfortunately I have no skills for playing mind games, that’s my problem.”
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