Klopp a tough nut to crack

Daily News - - SPORT - SOC­CER

LON­DON: Juer­gen Klopp can boast what few top man­agers can when his Liver­pool side take on Manch­ester United to­mor­row – a win­ning record over Jose Mour­inho.

Apart from Pep Guardi­ola, who has won eight and lost four of his meet­ings with Mour­inho dur­ing spells with Barcelona, Bay­ern Mu­nich and now Manch­ester City, Mour­inho has more of­ten than not proved a thorn in the side of most of his ri­vals.

Arse­nal man­ager Arsene Wenger took 13 years to fi­nally en­joy a Pre­mier League win over the Por­tuguese, at the 13th at­tempt.

The uber-con­fi­dent Klopp, how­ever, will suf­fer no such in­fe­ri­or­ity com­plex.

He has locked horns with the Por­tuguese seven times since he was in charge of Borus­sia Dort­mund and Mour­inho was at Real Madrid. Only once has he suf­fered a de­feat and even on that oc­ca­sion Dort­mund still knocked Real out in the Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nals 4-3 on ag­gre­gate.

Klopp has three wins to his name with three other games against Mour­inho end­ing in draws– in­clud­ing both Pre­mier League meet­ings last sea­son dur­ing Mour­inho’s first sea­son at the Old Traf­ford helm hav­ing re­placed Louis van Gaal.

The charis­matic Ger­man has clearly en­joyed pit­ting his wits against Mour­inho on the pitch and, while there is a healthy re­spect be­tween them, there is also an edge that to­mor­row’s north west show­down is likely to sharpen.

Dur­ing the draw at Old Traf­ford in Jan­uary the man­agers con­fronted each other in the tech­ni­cal area with Mour­inho sug­gest­ing af­ter­wards that Klopp con­cen­trate on coach­ing his team rather than wav­ing his arms about.

Klopp hit out at United’s “long-ball” tac­tics.

The pres­ence of Klopp and Mour­inho in ri­val dugouts to­mor­row adds another level of in­trigue to a fix­ture be­tween two clubs with 38 league English ti­tles be­tween them.

Since Mour­inho was ap­pointed as United’s man­ager he has earned 88 points, ex­actly the same as Klopp in the same pe­riod. Yet Mour­inho has two ma­jor tro­phies in the bag – the League Cup and Europa League – while Klopp awaits his first.

Mour­inho said he was rel­ish­ing another meet­ing with a club against who he claimed his first tro­phy in English foot­ball when Chelsea beat Liver­pool in the 2005 League Cup fi­nal, but against whom he suf- fered two Cham­pi­ons League semi-fi­nal de­feats.

“At An­field I’ve had great mo­ments and I’ve had bad mo- ments,” he said. “They have had hap­pi­ness against me, they have had very sad mo­ments against me. “(Now) if they re- spect me as much as I re­spect them, we are go­ing to have another one of those matches.” – Reuters

PIC­TURE: EPA

WIN­NING WAYS: Head coach of Liver­pool, Juer­gen Klopp.

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