Jurgen Klopp has poked some friendly fun at opposite number Jose Mourinho ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Chelsea, insisting the Blues boss is a nice guy… as long as you’re not a football official.
The German manager goes up against under-pressure Mourinho on Saturday with his new team, having left Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season.
Klopp, however, backed the Chelsea boss to pull out of the slump, while admitting he is not to everyone’s taste.
“I’m full of respect for his work. If you’re not a referee or a journalist he can be a nice guy,” he joked to reporters in Friday’s press conference.
“During the game we are both emotional but we are professionals, everything is fine between us.
“When I was in Germany Mourinho and I sometimes sent messages. I have respect for his work. He’s a nice guy.”
Clashes between Liverpool and Chelsea have become charged with tension over the last few years, a rivalry often fuelled by Mourinho’s incendiary comments pre and post-game.
But Klopp insisted that the only important issue on Saturday was reverting an indifferent start to the Premier League campaign for both teams.
“In history, it was a great game. Now it’s 9th vs 15th and we have a chance to improve our own situation and not think to much of the opponent,” he pointed out.
“It is a big match but I have been in this job for 15 years and had plenty of big matches.
“It is a match we can win, like any other, and that’s all I think about.”