Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte commenced the mind games ahead of his side’s crunch clash against Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool. In a showdown between the third versus the ninth, its the Reds who are surprisingly the latter. Klopp’s side have picked just 4 wins from their 12 league outings so far, and are a staggering 15 points adrift of table toppers Arsenal. With the title now out of Liverpool’s hands, Conte further rubbed salt on the Reds’ wounds as he talked about their drab 1-1 draw in the same fixture last season.

Liverpool needed all three points against Spurs last season in their home fixture at Anfield to keep alive their hopes of lifting the Premier League title. Tottenham, however, had other plans as they held the home side to a 1-1 draw, through as they say ‘parking the bus’. While Liverpool eventually lost the title to Manchester City by two points, a point did help Tottenham clinch the fourth spot in the table earning them a Champions League berth.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte revisited Tottenham’s draw against Liverpool last season which cost the Reds the Premier League title. Credits: Twitter

Antonio Conte ‘understood’ Klopp’s frustration over his style of football

Since that 1-1 stalemate, the equations have changed as Tottenham are looking more like the title challengers this season, and Liverpool with the chance of foiling their plans. The Reds need a victory at all costs in this away fixture to revive their ailing domestic season, where they are facing serious risk of finishing outside of the top-four and eventually missing out on the Champions League, unless they win the European competition itself.

Talking in his pre-match presser ahead of the Liverpool showdown, Antonio Conte went back to Klopp’s angry rant against his Spurs set-up in the 1-1 draw. Klopp had said:

“I am sorry, I am the wrong person to ask about because I don’t like this kind of football. But that is my personal problem. I think they are world class and I think they should do more for the game.”

Now, Antonio Conte was asked whether the six-month old comments made by the Liverpool boss over Tottenham’s playing style were distasteful, the Spurs boss replied:

“Yeah, but if you remember he lost the Premier League for this result. I understood his frustration. They lost the title for these two points [dropped]. But you know, instead we reached the Champions League with that draw. It’s OK, every coach has to speak for his team, and for every coach it’s important to understand the best strategy to reach a good result. Honestly, I have seen again the last game we played against Liverpool and, if there was a team that deserved to win, it was Tottenham, not Liverpool.

Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte also spoke abut his side’s differing style to Klopp’s Liverpool. Credits: Twitter

“But I understand after a game when you felt you lost the Premier League to say something wrong against another team, but he has said sorry because he understood. No problem for me. When you are angry, it’s very difficult sometimes to control your emotion.

“First of all, I think that Liverpool have to be proud because in the last five years they were the big, big rivals for Manchester City. Without Liverpool, I think City could do in the same way like Juventus was in Italy. For this reason, they have to be proud to reach this level and I think they improved a lot in these years. Sure, they spent money, but Klopp has changed Liverpool and the club gave him the possibility to invest.

“We are talking about an important club in the world with the possibility to spend a lot of money, but it’s important to spend the money in the right way. Sometimes you can sign players for £50 million, £60m, £80m, £100m, £120m – that happened in the past and you wasted your money.”

The two different styles of Tottenham and Liverpool will once again clash against each other this weekend, as there are higher stakes this time as well. Jurgen Klopp will be eager to give back the stick to Antonio Conte and his men, who have struggled in recent games, winning just one of their last three games in the league.