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Liverpool vs Manchester United: Klopp never doubted ‘world class’ Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku’s fine early form at Manchester United comes as little surprise to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp, who knew he would be “world class”.

football Updated: Oct 14, 2017 11:32 IST
Liverpool FC,Manchester United FC,Liverpool vs Manchester United
Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku, right, and Crystal Palace's Damien Delaney battle for the ball during the English Premier League football match at Old Trafford, Manchester, September 30, 2017. Lukaku will test Liverpool’s defence at Anfield on Saturday.(AP)

Jurgen Klopp believes Romelu Lukaku has matured at Manchester United, although he never doubted his “world class” ability.

Lukaku joined United for a reported Pounds 75 million ahead of the Premier League season and has made a stunning start to life at Old Trafford, scoring 11 goals in 10 games in all competitions.

Klopp’s Liverpool welcome Lukaku and United to Anfield on Saturday and the Reds boss hailed the forward’s development since making his big move.

“He has matured, of course,” Klopp told a pre-match news conference. “He’s still a young player. I don’t think there was any doubt at any point of his career that he would be a world-class striker - and he was already a world-class striker at Everton.

Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku shoots at goal vs Crystal Palace. ( Action Images via Reuters )

“Now, being around these other fantastic players at Man United helps him and he has helped the team so far a lot.

“They have been real goal-getter goals. It was: first try? No. Second try? There. And then do it again. It was not always fantastic play, it was fighting for goals.

“He clearly enjoys life in this team a lot. He has all the confidence you need as a striker and I’m sure he’s improved since he joined Manchester.”

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Liverpool at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on October 1, 2017. The game ended 1-1. ( AFP )

Klopp will be reunited with Henrikh Mkhitaryan - a player of his at Borussia Dortmund - on Saturday and he had praise for the United man, even if he feels he may lack the edge to become an elite star.

“He is a fantastic player, he was always a fantastic player,” Klopp said. “We played against him at Shakhtar Donetsk. Wow. He had the perfect attitude.

“But he had the perfect mentality, too. He knew what he wanted to do in each moment of his life. He was the perfect boy, son-in-law, whatever.

“Sometimes, in football, you need to have something a little bit different. We all know some of the best players in the world have a few little issues and that’s absolutely okay - they’re all human beings.”

First Published: Oct 14, 2017 11:23 IST