It’s a rare Liverpool-Manchester United when the atmosphere is more friendly than visceral.
Yet that appears to be the case this Tuesday evening. Following the tragic passing of Cristiano Ronaldo’s daughter, both sets of fans are set to unite in a minute of applause before the match, in a show of support for Ronaldo and his family.
In addition, Liverpool manager took some time to praise his opposite number, Ralf Rangnick in his programme notes. Manchester Evening News quoted his words.
“Ralf Rangnick does not need to read these pages to know how much I like and respect him, but I should say it anyway for the benefit of others.”
“Firstly, because it is true but also because it is important that all of us can demonstrate that underneath the rivalry, the passion and the desire to win, it is always possible to have a healthy respect for our opponents.”
“Ralf took over as manager when United were in a difficult moment but I know from my experience of him that his work will be beneficial in the long term.”
“Ralf has never just worked for today or for short-term results, he has always looked to get solid foundations in place so that the club he works for has a positive future.
“This, I would say, is very smart as well as being good news for Manchester United. So I welcome Ralf to Anfield as a friend and a rival. I look forward to being in his company and I know that he will want to be on the winning side just as much as I do. Neither of us would have it any other way.”
In Germany, Rangnick is widely credited as being a key part of the Gegenpressing style with which Klopp made his name at Mainz and later Borussia Dortmund, which may partly explain his sympathetic attitude towards his compatriot.