Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has lauded counterpart Louis van Gaal for overseeing a change in fortunes at Manchester United as the two teams prepare to face off in the first leg of their Round of 16 clashes in the Europa League tonight (Thursday).
Kick off time of the game which will be the first meeting between both sides in Europe is 9.05pm, Nigerian time.
The Red Devils recorded a 1-0 victory over Liverpool back in January in the league, courtesy of a late Wayne Rooney strike.
While the first leg of the last-16 tie has been billed as the "mother of all football games" in one of the sport's biggest rivalries, Klopp had nothing but kind words for Van Gaal, who orchestrated a four-match winning streak in all competitions prior to Sunday's surprise loss at West Brom.
Reportedly on the verge of being sacked following back-to-back defeats, Van Gaal responded with consecutive wins against Shrewsbury Town, Midtjylland, Arsenal and Watford before Salomon Rondon halted that run in the Premier League.
United will be without their captain, Rooney, as Van Gaal looks to become the first United manager in history to win five consecutive games against Liverpool.
And Klopp was quick to point out Van Gaal's record ahead of tonight's match at Anfield, though the German also highlighted Liverpool's fine form.
"I think it's pretty close in terms of quality. We are both in a good moment. Okay, United lost the last game but a few weeks ago there was a lot of pressure on Louis van Gaal and United and they handled it really well," said Klopp.
"I think he has proven over many years. His personality is that he is the boss in this team," he said.
"He is physically and mentally strong. I don't believe in enemies in football. I have absolutely no problem with Van Gaal but last thing I want is for him to win this (Round of 16 game)."
"He is not the youngest but for his age he is doing very well. He could adapt himself to any league in Europe," express.co.uk quotes the Liverpool manager.
Liverpool will likely be without captain James Milner through illness. Manchester United will not have suspended Jesse Lingard, but could hand Antonio Valencia a place in the starting line-up as the winger cum right back returns from injury.