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Liverpool will not see repeat of ‘freakish’ 7-0 win over Man Utd says Klopp

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Liverpool’s massive 7-0 victory over Manchester United at Anfield last season was a once-in-a-lifetime result that will not be repeated but Sunday’s derby promises to be a ‘special’ game, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Erik ten Hag’s United were flying high after winning the League Cup last season to end a six-year trophy drought but came crashing down to earth a week later when Liverpool handed the Old Trafford side their worst defeat in 92 years.

“The 7-0 we knew on the day was a freakish result that happens once in life pretty much. And if it helps anybody for the next game, it’s the team who lost 7-0 and not the team who won 7-0, that’s another thing,” Klopp told reporters.

“If you take it all out of consideration then we just play a football game against the rival, the historical rival, of Liverpool FC, at home, at Anfield.

“That itself must make it a special game and that’s what I want to see from us, a special game. Really understand the situation and give your all, that’s all I need.”

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Liverpool go into the weekend as Premier League leaders while United are sixth, 10 points behind. United have been in dire form in recent weeks with just one win from their last five games in all competitions.

Ten Hag is also under immense scrutiny after his side crashed out of Europe when they finished bottom of their Champions League group, but Klopp feels United are a stronger team when their backs are against the wall.

“I do not like all this talk around it. The more bad things people say about them, the stronger they will show up. That is always the case,” Klopp said.

“I will make sure from our point of view that we will be 100% focused on the right stuff, but we are human beings and there is a noise around.

“When even I am aware of the noise that means that there is obviously something going on.”

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Having topped their Europa League group, Klopp rested key players for their final group fixture, a 2-1 loss at Union St Gilloise.

The German said rotation was important with a League Cup quarter-final against West Ham United on Wednesday and title rivals Arsenal visiting Anfield the following weekend.

“I’m not sure what the other schedules are but that is the worst you can get,” he said.

“From now on they are all finals, that’s how it is. December is always about getting through.”

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Sancho back in training with Man United after positive meeting with Ten Hag

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Jadon Sancho was back training with Manchester United for the first time in 10 months, with a club source confirming the winger and manager Erik ten Hag have resolved their differences following their public fallout last year.

Sancho and Ten Hag had a positive meeting at Carrington Training Centre and the two have decided to draw a line under last season’s drawn-out argument, the club source said.

The 24-year-old Sancho made just three appearances for United last season, spending the second half of the campaign on loan to Borussia Dortmund after his relationship with Ten Hag soured in September.

Ten Hag had left the winger out of his squad for United’s 3-1 loss to Arsenal, saying Sancho’s performances in training had not warranted a place in his team. Sancho immediately lashed out on social media, accusing Ten Hag of making him a “scapegoat.”

He was banished from the first team and trained with United’s youth squad before returning to his former club Dortmund in January, where he shone during their Champions League semi-final victory against Paris St Germain, earning praise from Ten Hag. Dortmund were beaten by Real Madrid in the final.

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“(Sancho) is a very good player… he showed why Manchester United bought him and he showed he represents a high value for Manchester United, which is good,” Ten Hag told reporters following Dortmund’s 1-0 win over PSG in the first leg.

“I’m happy for Jadon, for the performance, and we’ll see what is going to happen in the future.”

Sancho will not travel with the team to Norway for their pre-season opener against Rosenborg since he began training later than the other players but the club source said he would be available for selection after that.

-Reuters

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Another Nigerian blood replaces Ndidi at Leicester

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Wilfred Ndidi who has just left Leicester City will have another Nigerian blood replacing him.

Leicester has never been without a Nigerian since Ahmed Musa joined in 2016. Ndidi and Kelechi Iheanacho joined in 2017.

Another Nigerian blood, Caleb Okoli, a centre back, has just been signed from Italian  Serie A side Atalanta on a five-year contract. Born in Itali, Caleb Okoli is Igbo and Yoruba by descent.

The 22-year-old, who spent the last season on loan at Frosinone Calcio, represented Italy at the European Under-21 Championship last year.

“I think now is the right moment (for me) to make a step forward and a very big one. I’m very happy with the choice I made, so I’m very excited to start in the Premier League,” Okoli said in a statement. The clubs did not disclose financial details of the deal.

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Ruud van Nistelrooy returns to Man United

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United legend Van Nistelrooy is expected to be announced as one of Erik ten Hag's assistants

Manchester United legend, Ruud van Nistelrooy has been spotted being driven into Carrington, the training ground of Manchester United.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (left) and Rene Hake arrived at Manchester United’s training ground

Reports have it that the Dutchman is set to be appointed as one of Erik ten Hag’s new assistant coaches.

He played for Manchester United from 2001 to 2006.

Now  48, he reportedly turned down job offer from Burnley to return to his old club, having previously led PSV Eindhoven to second place in the Eredivisie and victory in the Dutch Cup.

He is being joined by Rene Hake, 52, who was persuaded to give up his job as Go Ahead Eagles manager despite leading the Deventer-based club into Europe for only the third time in their history.

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