Antonio Conte will play host to Jurgen Klopp as Chelsea welcome Liverpool to Stamford Bridge on Friday in what is set to be one of the biggest clashes of the season.
Chelsea faced Liverpool earlier this year during their pre-season tours of the United States of America, where the Blues emerged victors thanks to a solitary goal from Gary Cahill.
The match, which took place at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, was unusually aggressive for a pre-season friendly with Cesc Fabregas getting being sent off and Liverpool players Dejan Lovren and Marko Grujic both picking up injuries.
However, given the stage and the competition, neither team are expected to try take any prisoners and in his pre-match press conference, Jurgen Klopp has urged his men to go there and try to ‘give everything’ when they take on the Blues in arguably their biggest test of the season yet.
“I’m very excited, games against Chelsea are always special things in the Premier League. They’re a strong side and they’re in a good moment. I saw 90 minutes of their last game against Swansea and everybody who saw it saw they could’ve won this game!”
Klopp went on to say that last season was not a ‘Chelsea season’ but this season they were back on track and his side would have to be ready for a real challenge. “They defend well and attack quick and strong, so it’s not the easiest job in world football (to play Chelsea), but still we feel quite confident we can do something there,” he said.
His Chelsea counterpart was equally wary of Liverpool’s quality and in his pre-match press conference, said that they were going up against a very strong team.”A strong match, very tough against a strong team,” he said. He insisted that Liverpool were a good team, one that played with high intensity and brought many players in offensive positions.
The Italian went on to say “We must pay great attention tomorrow because we know they are very strong.” Conte is yet suffer defeat in the Premier League, after narrowly avoiding defeat at Swansea and has a 100% record at home, but this is set to be his biggest challenge as a Chelsea manager till date.
Both managers were full of praise for each other and Jurgen Klopp insisted that the Italian was one of the very best of the world, going as far as to label him as the ‘Pep Guardiola of Turin’.
The 49-year-old was asked for his opinion on Antonio Conte’s passionate touchline antics and intense celebrations, something the former Dortmund boss is quite known for himself.
He said “I don’t know Antonio well enough to say why, but he looks quite emotional when they don’t score! Obviously he’s involved in the game, but that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is that he’s a great manager, a successful manager, something like the Pep Guardiola of Turin if you like – he created their (Juventus’) special style of play and had a very successful time there.”
Conte on the other hand insisted that Klopp was one of the ‘best in the world’ saying, “Jurgen Klopp is a good manager, one of the best in the world, he’s showing his capacity to be a great manager. I know him but not much. We played against each other only once, in pre-season, but he’s a fantastic manager and I’ll be glad to see him tomorrow.”