Joel Matip says Liverpool have been practicing to deal with United's aerial threats

Joel Matip says Liverpool have been practicing to deal with United's aerial threats

Liverpool have put plenty of focus into ensuring they are well-equipped to deal with the aerial threat of Manchester United on Monday nights, according to defender Joel Matip.

Charlie Malam

Joel Matip believes Liverpool are well prepared to deal with the aerial threat of Manchester United when the two arch enemies do battle at Anfield on Monday night.

Jose Mourinho's men make the short trip down the M62 to Merseyside, where the Reds chase a sixth consecutive win in all competitions and a fifth straight victory in the Premier League.

United are expected to pinpoint Liverpool's set-piece weaknesses, particularly with the height of the likes of Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to aim for.

But Matip and co. are braced for what he expects to be a tough evening, insisting the hosts have done their practice throughout the week.

We still "have to work on" our defending - Matip

The defender warned that Liverpool "have to defend against this" and have done "lots of practices" in the build-up against "crosses and high balls."

"If the ball comes in my area I have to give everything to try and clear it," the Cameroonian explained to the Sunday Times, admitting the defence is an area Liverpool "have to work on."

However, Matip said that the "most important thing" for him personally is "always to win", with keeping a clean sheet "the next most important thing" as he said that a 3-2 is not his "favourite result."

Matip, who joined from Schalke on a free transfer back in July, insisted that Jürgen Klopp's men are "working hard" to "improve defending" because the Reds boss "wants clean sheets."

He acknowledged that there will be "a lot of games you have to win 1-0" and insisted he gets "very angry" when the team concede, insisting that even if they win, it's always "in my head" and he thinks about it "for days afterwards."

Defender says Reds cannot just focus on Ibrahimovic

Matip and the Reds' back-line will have to shackle a number of threats, with towering striker Ibrahimovic likely to be the focal point of United's attack.

The 35-year-old Swede hasn't scored in his last three games after scoring four in his first four for the Red Devils, but Matip is confident he and his teammates have what it takes to quell the threat of Ibrahimovic under the Anfield floodlights.

He admitted that Ibrahimovic is "an amazing player" and "a player who everybody knows" but cited Chelsea's Diego Costa, whom he kept quiet in Liverpool's 2-1 win at Stamford Bridge last month, also as "an amazing player."

He said that they "defend all together as a team" and explained that he knows "most of the time" he will "play directly against a striker" but that there is "always movement" and "many good players in each team."

That means he, and the Liverpool back-line as a whole, "cannot always look on one players" because the "other players are good too" and they "have to defend against them all."