Jurgen Klopp has called out former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor for his criticism of Manchester United during their 4-0 defeat to Brentford – and says he was close to phoning in to complain about Agbonlahor.
United – who play Klopp’s Liverpool on Monday Night Football, live on Sky Sports – are bottom of the Premier League table after two defeats from two, but the Reds manager has defended Erik ten Hag’s side this early on in the season.
Former Aston Villa striker Agbonlahor described United as “amateur” during the game and described players like Christian Eriksen, David de Gea and Lisandro Martinez as “not good enough” – and Klopp revealed he felt his views were so harsh that the Liverpool manager nearly phoned in himself.
“It was obviously not a nice week for United after the Brentford game. We forget in these moments how good Brentford are. It [the reaction to it] was that bad, I drove home after watching the first half here [at the training ground] and I listened to talkSPORT and Gabby [Agbonlahor].
“He lost against us 6-0 in my first year, so I couldn’t remember him as a mentality monster on the pitch then – but what he said about Man Utd in that show, I was close to calling in and telling him: ‘You forgot completely that you were a player’.
“And if ex-players go already like this, you can imagine how everything else is going. You have to ask yourself how you want to react in a situation like this.”
Agbonlahor did not hold back in criticising United during their 4-0 defeat at Brentford – which saw them go four goals down in 35 minutes.
“If I was them [United] now after this game I’d be thinking, ‘You know what, Ten Hag, just pack up’,” the former Aston Villa forward said. “He’s had pre-season and they have started the season as a shambles, they’re like strangers on the pitch.
“They’re just not good enough, [David] De Gea must know that [Christian] Eriksen has got a man behind him, use your brain and you don’t give it to him, Man City wouldn’t even give it to Rodri in that position.
“If I was Gary Neville now at half-time [commentating for Sky Sports] I’d throw the white towel in and say, ‘Alright, it’s 4-0, I can’t take any more’.
“They’re not United, they’re divided, none of them are working for each other. Look at them, they’re like strangers on the pitch
In his pre-match press conference ahead of Monday’s trip to Old Trafford, Klopp defended Ten Hag’s side despite United’s poor start to the campaign – reminding everyone the Reds lost to their arch-rivals in pre-season.
United ran out 4-0 winners over Liverpool in Bangkok and Klopp was eager to remind the public about the quality Ten Hag has in his team.
“When you play United away, it’s never easy,” said Klopp. “We’ll have to do our best.
“That’s your words [that United had a bad start to the season]. I would prefer to play United after they won 5-0. We drew two games so is that just as bad, is it worse? I don’t know.
“They like to play out the back, you can see and feel the high press idea.
“We were not ready for our game in pre-season. The quality they have up front is ridiculous, the quality in midfield – whoever lines up – whether it’s Eriksen, Fernandes, Van de Beek, Fred. Donny I think is a really good player. And then there’s McTominay as well.
“You have to rebuild and change a lot of things and that’s not easy.”