The battle of the emotional bosses
Klopp looking forward to duel with Chelsea’s Conte
Jurgen Klopp has never been one to hide his emotions. The Liverpool boss wears his heart on his sleeve, excitedly patrolling the touchline and celebrating goals with unbridled joy.
The German is also quick to recognise a kindred spirit and in Chelsea manager Antonio Conte he sees a man of equal passion.
Ahead of Liverpool’s trip to Stamford Bridge tomorrow night, Klopp was full of admiration for his opposite number.
“He looks quite emotional even when they don’t score,” said the former Borussia Dortmund boss. “He’s a great manager – the Pep Guardiola of Turin.
“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.”
The Blues have yet to taste defeat under Conte, winning their opening three Premier League games before salvaging a draw at Swansea.
The Italian manager has also managed to reinvigorate two of Chelsea’s most potent threats – Eden Hazard and Diego Costa.
“He’s world class,” Klopp said of Spanish striker Costa. “He is a real warrior on the pitch, he uses his body all the time and that is a quality. He was nearly unstoppable against Swansea.
“Hazard was outstanding at Anfield last season but we didn’t defend against him too well. We will have to do better.”
While Klopp was quick to pay respect to Chelsea, he feels his Liverpool charges should be full of confidence following last weekends’ 4-1 destruction of champions Leicester.
“They’re physically very strong. Last year was not a Chelsea season but now they are back on track. We need to be ready for the challenge,” he said.
“It is a game you can look forward to, even after playing our last game and then you become aware the next game is Friday at Chelsea - it sounds good.
“Friday night is one of the best moments to play football. Let’s go for it.” The Reds were at their brilliant attacking best against Claudio Ranieri’s side, but there have been signs of frailties at the back. They lost 2-0 to Burnley, conceded three even in victory over Arsenal and handed Leicester their only goal with some sloppy defending. “There is still space for improvement and we need to improve for the Chelsea game,” added Klopp. “They have so much experience and we are much younger. “It’s not the easiest to challenge them but we are preparing well and the players that played in the last game are ready. As is Dejan Lovren.” The Croatian defender missed the Leicester game with a bruised eye but could be recalled in place of midfielder Lucas Leiva who filled in at the back at Anfield. However, it is in attack that Liverpool have impressed so far this season. And Klopp has been particularly pleased with the performances of his next-door neighbour Adam Lallana. “He’s a nice guy as a neighbour. I have other nice neighbours who aren’t as good at football,” he joked. “I knew him from Southampton - brilliant player. He can play different positions. He is a quick, smart player who is very important.” Liverpool could also choose to bring influential Philippe Coutinho back into the line-up after the Brazilian started on the bench against Leicester after returning from international duty. Meanwhile, Chelsea will be without injured captain John Terry. That means David Luiz will be in line for his second debut for the Blues after returning to the club from French champions Paris Saint-Germain last month.