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Stats show Man Utd midfielder improving this season

Credit: Oulala

Paul Pogba may have struggled against Liverpool on Sunday, but the midfielder has actually improved since rejoining Man United from Juventus.

Pogba handled in the area to gift Liverpool a first-half lead shortly after scuffing a shot when through on goal.

But the stats above, courtesy of Oulala, suggest the French international is continuing to develop his game under Jose Mourinho.

Pogba has created more chances per game, produced a better pass completion rate and pulled off more successful passes per game at United than he did with Juventus last season.

Pogba's take-on success rate, aerial duels won, clearances and interceptions have also improved this season, although the latter three statistics are probably due to the Premier League being more competitive than Serie A.

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Klopp keen to avoid Man United v Liverpool overhype

Klopp doesn't want his players to get carried away with the occasion. Credit: PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists their trip to face arch-rivals Manchester United does not take on any extra significance just because both teams are back battling at the top end of the table.

The Reds went into the weekend in second place while United's six successive Premier League victories - as part of a nine-match winning run - have taken Jose Mourinho's side to within five points of their bitter north-west rivals.

October's meeting was a dour goalless draw as United were still getting to grips with Mourinho's tactics after his summer appointment, but even though the stakes appear higher at Old Trafford on Sunday Klopp said that is not the case.

He said:

It is not about making it bigger than it actually is. You can be 10th and they can be first, or they are 15th and we are first - it makes no difference to the game.

It is very important we know about this. It is a special game and we are aware of it. The players know more about the fixture, most are experienced enough.

If we can win there it would be nice but there are a lot of games to play and a lot of points which you should get and these are only three of them.

Both teams, especially in the long term, are in a good shape. We can lose against each team and we can win against each team.

– Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

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Pogba: Chat with Man United boss gave me confidence

Pogba's performances have improved as the season has progressed. Credit: PA

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba says he has been greatly encouraged by advice from manager Jose Mourinho which as a result has given him more freedom on the pitch.

The 23-year-old, who rejoined the Premier League club from Italian champions Juventus last summer, revealed United boss Mourinho told him "you know how to play, do what you want" which handed the France international a confidence boost and has seen his form improve in recent weeks.

The Red Devils host north-west rivals Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend and - ahead of Sunday's match - Pogba spoke to BBC One's Football Focus programme which will be shown at noon on Saturday.

He said:

He (Mourinho) told me not to listen to anybody, just be focused on the pitch and enjoy yourself. That is all I am doing. He talked to me. He made me very comfortable and confident.

He said 'you know how to play, do what you want'. He let me free on the pitch. He told me just to enjoy myself. That is it. That is all I need to hear from the manager.

– Man United midfielder Paul Pogba
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