The German was addressing the media on Friday and was also quick to praise the form of summer signing Roberto Firmino ahead of what is one of the most volatile and bitter affairs in world football.
Talk naturally turned to the contrast between the two managers, especially after Klopp’s extravagant celebration when Liverpool scored a late equaliser against Arsenal on Wednesday. The German conceded there are personality and stylistic differences between the two, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo:
Klopp: "We are different characters. He (van Gaal) is more experienced. Maybe I'm more lively on touchline than him."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2016
The man who shone brightest for the Reds during that pulsating 3-3 draw with the Gunners was Firmino, who notched a fine brace in the first half.
It’s been a difficult start to life at Anfield for the Brazil international following his summer transfer from Hoffenheim, but Klopp thinks that, given time, he’ll prove to be a tremendous capture:
Klopp on Firmino: "Everyone needs time. Sometimes we couldn't change when we wanted. He's in good moment. He's not just a big team player."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2016
Another performance of comparable standards against United would certainly aid the Brazilian in appealing to supporters.
It’s a game in which plenty of Kop icons of years gone by have made their name. Given the Red Devils’ troubles, there’s a chance for a Liverpool player to join that select company with a stellar performance.
The Liverpool boss also revealed matches against rivals are one of his favourite things about football.
Klopp compared the rivalry between Liverpool and United to that between former club Borussia Dortmund and Schalke, insisting these are the kind of contests he loves to be involved in, per Carl Markham of the Press Association:
He also posed an intriguing analogy for how he sees matches between two big rivals, per Juliette Ferrington of BBC Sport:
Klopp was asked about whether or not aesthetics are important in football. His opposite number for Sunday's game has been heavily criticised for the style of football United have played as of late, with the Dutchman choosing to deploy meticulous, slow tactics.
The Liverpool boss claimed it’s vital teams are enjoyable to watch because, fundamentally, we are all still fans of the sport:
Klopp on style: "First of all I am a football fan. I like to be entertained. You need to play football that people want to talk about."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2016
Klopp: "I like football because of the moments you can enjoy. It's our job to try to do it as often as possible."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2016
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson set the benchmark for entertaining attacking sides in the Premier League, something Van Gaal has struggled to live up to.
When asked about his opinion on Ferguson, Klopp hailed the Scot as one of the best managers the game has ever seen and conjured another interesting analogy:
Klopp: "I had really good moments with Sir Alex. It was an honour to talk with him. Maybe he's greatest ever - the John Lennon of football."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2016
Injuries have ravaged this Reds team in recent weeks, but there was some positive news from the manager when it comes to potential returns, although striker Daniel Sturridge still remains absent:
Klopp: "Henderson okay, Ibe okay, Sakho okay. Kolo is still in the ice bath. No update on Sturridge."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2016
Friday was the 100th day of Klopp’s reign as Liverpool manager, but it's not a landmark the German was thinking too much about:
Klopp on 100 days in charge #LFC "We could have done better, we could have done worse. Some great moments and some average moments."— juliette ferrington (@juliette_grace) January 15, 2016
Klopp was also asked about transfers and recent speculation that the Reds have a pre-contract agreement with Schalke centre-back Joel Matip, per David Maddock and Alex Richards of the Daily Mirror. But the German was giving little away about that potential acquisition:
Klopp on Matip: "There is nothing to say about it. If and when something is fixed you will be the first to know."— James Pearce (@JamesPearceEcho) January 15, 2016
Who will finish higher in the Premier League?
Under Klopp, the atmosphere has improved at Anfield, and you can bet this famous stadium will be rocking for the visit of their bitter rivals.
But Van Gaal seems to relish these contests, having won all three of his games against the Reds in charge of United so far, including a 2-1 triumph in the corresponding fixture last term.
The Liverpool players should be buoyed by the manner in which they took the game to Arsenal on Wednesday.
A win over an under-fire United side seems within reach for Klopp and his players, and it’s a result that could kick-start the second half of the season for the Reds.