Liverpool launch more long balls than Manchester United, despite Jurgen Klopp criticising Jose Mourinho's tactics

Official Premier League statistics will make for interesting reading for the Anfield boss...

Evan Bartlett
Monday 16 January 2017 13:48
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'In the last 20 minutes United were doing only long balls, it was difficult'
'In the last 20 minutes United were doing only long balls, it was difficult'

Official Premier League statistics show that Liverpool launch more long passes than Manchester United, despite Jurgen Klopp bemoaning the tactic after Sunday's game at Old Trafford.

"It was a very positive performance, we played the better football, but what can I say?" Klopp said after the 1-1 draw. "The boys did really well."

United brought on Marouane Fellaini with 15 minutes left to play and his header helped set up Zlatan Ibrahimovic's late equaliser.

While Klopp felt his side played the "better football", he acknowledged it was difficult to cope with United's direct passing in the closing stages.

"It was on the edge, it was quite hectic," the German said. "We could have been more clinical, but in the last 20 minutes United were doing only long balls, it was difficult."

Over the course of the season, however, it is in fact Liverpool who have played more long ball football than United.

Statistics on the Premier League's official website show that Klopp's men have played 1,417 long balls to 1,346 for Mourinho's this season. That equates to 3.38 more per game.

Only three teams play fewer long balls than United

Liverpool also played more long passes in Sunday's game than their season average - 75 compared to 67.47 - figures from WhoScored show.

While Mourinho has a reputation for being a pragmatic coach who doesn't always play the most attractive football, his side are using fewer long passes than under predecessor Louis van Gaal - 64.09 per game compared to 69.71 last season and 78.13 the year before.

In Sunday's game, Klopp had a point however. United did play more long balls - 99 compared to Liverpool's 75.

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