Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp stands on the brink of history ahead of their Europa League clash against Manchester United on 10 March, but it is an unwanted record the German coach is battling to avoid. Never during the two sides fierce 122-year rivalry have Liverpool lost five successive matches against United, but thats the unwanted milestone Klopps side are approaching after four straight defeats.
The German is hoping to turn things around in what he describes as the mother of all matches. The squad at his disposal, he says, is much stronger than the one he had in January for the most recent victory in Uniteds run, a 1-0 win at Anfield.
I dont believe in enemies in football to be honest, said Klopp when asked about the rivalry with United. I believe in real, real, real, real opponents. I like this, it is no problem. I have absolutely no problem with Louis van Gaal, the last thing I want is that he wins in a game like this. That is pretty easy.
That is what we all love in football. You can play against your best friends but if they wear the wrong shirt... 95 minutes you have to forget everything, all the good, common experiences in your life. So that is pretty easy for me.
Games like this are the mother of all football games. That is what you really want when you are young when you can play. You dont have to think about concentration, you are concentrating. It is absolutely easy then. It is a big challenge but the best thing that you can do in football.
He added: Manchester United have won the last four but it means nothing. It would mean more if they are much better than we are, if they had much more quality than we had. But I think it is pretty close. I would say we are both in a good moment.
The most dominant run in the rivalry currently belongs to Liverpool, who won five successive matches between 2000 and 2002.
Uniteds current stranglehold over the fixture, however, has been overseen by their coach Louis van Gaal, a long-standing rival of Klopps, stretching back to when the pair were in charge of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Bayern coach van Gaal won the first two of their four meetings in Germany, before Klopp won the next two, including a 3-1 win in Munich, Dortmunds first Bundesliga victory there in two decades.
Both managers have come through difficult periods in recent weeks, with Liverpool winning their last three Premier League games and United notching up four victories in a row in all competitions before their defeat at the hands of West Brom.