Sunday 18 March 2018

Jurgen Klopp praises Antonio Conte as the 'Pep Guardiola of Juventus'

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Picture: Getty
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp Picture: Getty

Samuel Lovett

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised rival Antonio Conte as the “Pep Guardiola of Juventus”.

Klopp made the remarks at his weekly press conference ahead of Friday night’s Premier League clash with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

Conte won three successive Serie A titles with Juventus from 2011 before going on to manage Italy.

Although the two have both developed a reputation for their animated behaviour and enthusiasm on the side of the pitch, Klopp has insisted that it is Conte’s record, and not their shared passion, that impresses him the most.

"I don't know Antonio good enough to know why he is doing it - I know for myself and, as I've said a few times, it just happens to me," he said, in reference to his touchline antics.

"He looks quite emotional, even when they don't score. Obviously he is involved in the game, but that's not the most important thing.

"The very important thing is he is a great manager, something like the 'Pep Guardiola of Juventus' if you want.

"He created their special type of play and had a very successful time there and with the national team.

"It is quite impressive what he has done until now, but I don't play against Antonio Conte."

Stamford Bridge was the scene of Klopp's first Premier League victory on October 31 last year when Liverpool came from a goal down to win 3-1.

They played each other in a tetchy and occasionally bad-tempered friendly on their pre-season tour of the United States during which Cesc Fabregas was sent off for a crude lunge on Ragnar Klavan and Reds midfielder Marko Grujic ended up in hospital with concussion after a clash of heads with Bertrand Traore.

There has been animosity between the two sides, and sets of fans, for the best part of a decade, but Klopp likes to think there is some form of mutual appreciation.

"I know about our respect for Chelsea and I am pretty sure from the other side there is exactly the same," he said.

"They've seen us playing and they know we are not easy to play and that is what I thought most about in the last two days and what I will think about because there is always a way to create moments which you are not expecting.

"The problem is they maybe have the same plan.

"They were champions two years ago and then had a difficult year and they changed their manager.

"Last season was not a Chelsea season and now they are back on track, so we need to be ready for a real challenge."

Independent News Service

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