While Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is trying to play the importance of the match down, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp seems to be embracing the occasion.
United and Liverpool are set to square off in a blockbuster Premier League clash on Monday night, and true to form, Klopp is wearing his heart on his sleeve, refusing to back down from the enormity of the moment.
“Apart from the table, it’s a very important game. I know about the history, I like the special stories,” the German said on Friday.
“You cannot and should not ignore the special circumstance of a game like this. You have to be ready.
“The whole world will watch this game, it’s a big honour to be part of it,” he added. “At the end, it’s up to us to perform to our best.”
Klopp wants to strike a balance between his team embracing the moment and getting swept up in the emotion, and staying cool, calm and collected. In many ways, it’s what he’s been trying to achieve with Liverpool since he’s arrived.
“You need to be emotional but cool, direct but patient. Like in all the games of course, but also the best games. The more interest, the more difficult it is, but the more excited everybody is.
“It will never, ever, be a normal game.
“We should use this opportunity on the pitch, all the nice stories are written on the pitch, in the stadium, with big respect because that’s what it stands for.
“You face the biggest opponents and play football against them, that’s the kind of battle we have. We need to create a special atmosphere.”
The Reds will have home advantage for the match, of course, and Klopp wants the fans to make it count.
“This is Anfield. We have to show this,” he added. “We have had a few nice atmospheres but I’m open for the best atmosphere. We need everybody in a Liverpool shirt in this game.”
As for Mourinho, he is perhaps wisely not making too much of Monday night’s result. A trip to Anfield right now brings little guarantee of success, and United have had their own troubles in the lead-up to the game.
“The season is not about the Anfield match and the Old Trafford match in January; the season is about many points to win, points to lose and targets to achieve,” said the United boss.
Mourinho did admit it was a big occasion, however.
“I like the atmosphere and the characteristics of the matches. It is a big match that can be comparable to Inter v Milan and Real v Barcelona, maybe Porto v Benfica – this I like.”