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Jurgen Klopp’s record in big away games provides belief for Old Trafford trip

Liverpool have an excellent record at the homes of their main Premier League rivals under Jurgen Klopp, and this should provide belief ahead of Sunday’s clash with Man United.

The Reds head to Old Trafford for a huge match and in their patchiest form of the season so far – winless in their last three games.

Some poor results and flat performances since the turn of the year has naturally seen confidence knocked at Anfield, at a time the squad looks tired and the absence of star quality like Sadio Mane is felt.

Indeed, recent displays in disappointing draws with Sunderland and League Two Plymouth, and most worryingly in defeat at Southampton, has left fans fearing the worst ahead of Sunday afternoon.

Just as it appeared travelling Kopites could finally head to Manchester with a feeling of belief rather than hope, it’s once again a sense of fear that grips as Klopp’s men prepare to face a United side on a nine-game winning streak.

Liverpool need to improve considerably and rapidly, but even though this is the case, there are numerous reasons for optimism ahead of what is undoubtedly a winnable clash against Jose Mourinho’s side.

One of these is with the potential returns of key men Joel Matip and Jordan Henderson to add to that of Philippe Coutinho, who could start at Old Trafford after a positive half-hour cameo at St Mary’s.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 26, 2016: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson wearing a rainbow armband in action against Sunderland during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The absence of the key trio, especially Henderson, has certainly been felt, and their returns would breathe new life into a lethargic Liverpool side.

But the biggest reason for optimism comes from the Reds’ hugely impressive record on the road against their main competitors under Klopp’s guidance.

Liverpool have played seven league games on rival territory – including neighbours, Everton – in Klopp’s tenure and are yet to taste defeat, having claimed an excellent five victories.

Indeed, Klopp’s Reds have won on both visits to Stamford Bridge – the first of which saw a 3-1 win recorded over Mourinho early on in the German’s reign, almost a year before the 2-1 success over Antonio Conte’s men in September.

Victory was also earned on Klopp’s first and only league visit to Arsenal with a 4-3 success, the maiden trip to the Etihad Stadium where a 4-1 win followed, and at Goodison Park, where Sadio Mane’s last-gasp winner secured a precious 1-0 win.

Only at White Hart Lane has Klopp been denied victory by league rivals, with the Reds twice being held to stalemates by Mauricio Pochettino’s side – which themselves aren’t results to be sniffed at.

Liverpool’s vastly improved big-game mentality has been key to this successful run, with the Reds adopting a fearless approach on the very stages they consistently struggled.

The steely, unfazed mentality on such occasions has also seen Klopp’s men become the only top-six side unbeaten by a direct competitor this season.

Liverpool need to rediscover this bravery and determination on Sunday afternoon, and recover what has made them such a dominant force in big away-day clashes.

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his sides fourth goal with Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Picture date August 14th, 2016 Pic David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

Mane’s absence doesn’t help, but the blue half of Manchester and Mourinho’s Chelsea were beaten without the Senegalese last season, by an attack of Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino which Klopp could revisit.

The Liverpool manager’s only big loss so far has come against United, at Anfield last January, but he is yet to visit Old Trafford for a league fixture.

The German will relish the opportunity to make up for that early slip, and banish his side’s blip in form to keep their title charge on track with a huge three points in the backyard of their most bitter rivals.

Klopp has already enjoyed a sample taster of what winning at Old Trafford is like, having eliminated the Red Devils in the last-16 of the Europa League last season, with a 1-1 draw sealing a memorable 3-1 aggregate success.

Klopp will want a positive score-line this time to enjoy the perfect first league trip, and though his side may not be at their best currently, Liverpool’s big-game results on the road provide reason to believe victory can be achieved.

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