The Liverpool manager is a distant friend of Manchester United interim manager Rangnick, and he will be hoping for a win for the Reds at the Etihad Stadium.
When Ralf Rangnick was in charge of Hannover 96 in the Bundesliga more than two decades ago, he came up against Jurgen Klopp. Both coaches did not appear to be personal friends at the time, but their coaching styles appeared to be quite similar.
Rangnick called Klopp shortly after the contest to ask him a few questions about one of his upcoming opponents, which Klopp answered. Rangnick had recently played against Klopp’s Mainz team, and he was eager to pick Klopp’s brain for any information he could find out about the team.
However, Rangnick and Klopp’s relationship has soured since then, and this weekend they have the opportunity to work together once more to tailor their strategies for a specific opponent. On Sunday afternoon, his team will take on Klopp’s title rivals, Manchester City, at the Etihad Stadium
However, when it comes to inflicting damage on Pep Guardiola’s side, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has proven to be more successful than the majority of his peers
Guardiola has the worst record against any of the coaches he has faced more than six times in his career, with his record against Klopp being the worst of all — followed by none other than Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in second place. He only scores 1.41 points per game when playing against Klopp.
Instead of calling Klopp directly and conversing over the phone with him as he did in Germany all those years ago, Rangnick could use his tactical blueprint from previous meetings as a template from which to work this time around.
Whenever Liverpool face Manchester City, particularly at the Etihad Stadium, Klopp instructs his players to refrain from pressing high up the pitch. A narrow formation around the center circle is usually used by Liverpool to obstruct traffic in and around the park’s heart.
“City has a vision for what it wants to achieve. They want to play through the middle of the field “Klopp made the statement after Liverpool’s match against Manchester City in October.
As a result, when playing against Liverpool, Guardiola’s players are typically presented with two options, as illustrated below. In order to maintain relative safety against their opponents, they can either construct structures on the flanks or take risks by forcing passes through the middle.
Over the years, the latter has allowed Liverpool to thrive on the counter-attack. In previous meetings, Klopp’s players have concentrated on intercepting those central passes before launching quick attacks on goal, and United have the personnel to behave in a similar manner on Sunday against Liverpool.
Rangnick has the tools to launch dangerous counter-attacks with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Elanga, Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard, and Cristiano Ronaldo at his disposal. He also has the tools to ensure that Manchester United remain compact and difficult to play through on the defensive side of the game.
Also capable of intercepting passes through the middle are Scott McTominay, Fred, and Nemanja Matic, who appear to be able to feed the teammates in front of them.
A number of positive results against Guardiola in the past, particularly under Solskjaer, have been achieved by Rangnick’s forwards, who are quick and vaguely comparable to those used by Klopp in terms of speed and directness.
The fact that he is coaching in his first Manchester derby as a coach may give Rangnick an advantage in the game. Although City are the favorites, United have the tools to come away with three points on Sunday.