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Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp described Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti as a “role model” and “one of the best people you can ever meet”.
Los Blancos and Liverpool meet at the Stade de France in the Champions League final on Saturday in a rematch of the 2018 showpiece match as both appear to add to their historic European history.
Klopp and Ancelotti, who are the only coaches in history to have won all of Europe’s five major leagues, will face each other for the 11th time as managers after meeting each other for the first time in 2014, when Borussia Dortmund took on Madrid.
The head-to-head record has been tipped in favor of the Italian, with four wins against Klopp’s three, with three more draws, including two during Ancelotti’s time at Merseyside with Everton.
In fact, Ancelotti guided Everton to their first win in a Merseyside derby in over 10 years when Toffees won 2-0 in February 2021, which also marked the club’s first win at Anfield since 1999.
Prior to their most recent meeting, Klopp explained how he thinks best of his opposite number, and painted a warm picture of their relationship.
“What Carlo is to me is clearly one of the most successful managers in the world,” Klopp told reporters. “But he’s a role model for me in the way he handles his success.
“He’s one of the best people you can ever meet, I think everyone will tell you that. He’s a great company, a really sweet guy, and we have a really good relationship.
“It had a break when he was at Everton because we both respect this part of the business too much, otherwise we would have been out eating a few times. We did not at all!
“The respect on my part could not be greater. I’m sure he won everywhere, everything, and he will never stop. I really respect that, but of course it does not matter for this game. “
5 – Carlo Ancelotti is the only manager in history to have won the league title in each of Europe’s five major leagues, and is now the oldest coach to win the LaLiga (62 years and 325 days). Master. pic.twitter.com/9m1pHbLya8
– OptaJose (@OptaJose) April 30, 2022
Ancelotti was Milan coach when Liverpool made a remarkable comeback in the Champions League final in 2005, going from 3-0 down to a 3-3 draw and then winning on penalties.
This season, it has been Madrid who have had a penchant for dramatic twists on the road to Paris.
Madrid roared back to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals thanks to a hat-trick from Karim Benzema, who subsequently scored a crucial extra-time goal against Chelsea in the quarter-finals before conceding a match-winning penalty after Rodrygo had inspired. a comeback against Manchester City.
Liverpool lost 3-1 to Madrid in Kiev in 2018, with Gareth Bale scoring twice from the bench and Klopp backing his own team’s experience from that defeat.
“If we would only take the last 10 minutes of all the knockout fights they had, we would say they are pretty much invincible,” he added.
“The comebacks they had are really special, but these matches were longer than just the last 10 minutes, and of course they had to come back in a moment.
“So the other team was in the lead, we remember the PSG match, where they missed many chances, as they usually do. [score]. Madrid kept the door open, or PSG left the door open.
“But this team is definitely full of experience. They know exactly how to approach a match, especially a final. We felt that hard in 2018.
“They had a huge advantage for us that night, it was clear. Since then we have gained a lot of experience, which is very useful.”
The “massive advantage” Klopp referred to could very well be an injury to Mohamed Salah, who had to be taken off after a collision with Sergio Ramos four years ago.
Salah went on to the net from the penalty spot when Liverpool won the Champions League the following year, beating Tottenham 2-0.