Ralf Rangnick not expecting easy reunion with ‘extremely good’ Liverpool

Ralf Rangnick is braced to face an “extremely good” Liverpool side featuring players the interim Manchester United boss helped on their path to the top.

All eyes will be on Anfield as the rivals go toe-to-toe on Tuesday evening, six months on from Jurgen Klopp’s men securing a stunning 5-0 Old Trafford win in the reverse fixture.

Naby Keita opened the scoring that day and previously said Rangnick treated him “like a son” when bringing him to RB Salzburg, with the interim United boss also going on to coach him at RB Leipzig.

The 63-year-old was also involved in the careers of future Liverpool players Sadio Mane, Ibrahima Konate and Takumi Minamino having begun working as the two Red Bull clubs’ sporting director in 2012.

Furthermore, Rangnick signed Roberto Firmino when he was managing Hoffenheim and impressive centre-back Joel Matip played under him at Schalke.

“They are good, they’re extremely good,” Rangnick said of Liverpool. “It’s no coincidence that they’re as good as they are.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, April 13, 2022: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (L) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 2nd Leg game between Liverpool FC and SL Benfica at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Jurgen has built that team in the last six and a half years.

“Six or seven of those players used to be my/our players when we signed them for our clubs when nobody knew them.

“Again, it’s no coincidence that this is probably the club with the highest number of players from our former clubs because their approach, their style of football, the way they want to play is pretty similar.”

Rangnick knows United need to raise their performance from Saturday’s helter-skelter 3-2 triumph against rock-bottom Norwich if they are to take anything away from Anfield.

“Of course, they will (show their desire to finish in the top four),” he said.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 24, 2021: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes clash during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Of course they also showed today that they were trying to win that game but, as I said, for me it’s a question of being physical enough in those moments and it was not the first time today, it happened in games earlier on.

“If I still remember the game at Leeds, where we played at the end with Scotty (McTominay) and with Fred, yes it was a battle and we were up to the standards at Leeds, but this has to happen more regularly.

“It’s quite obvious. Even the reason why the club contacted me in November was the fact we just conceded too many goals too easily.

“We reduced the number of goals conceded but the way that we defend is still not the standard that we need in order to be a top-four club.”