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Jurgen Klopp and Jose Mourinho face off in what already looks like being a hugely significant match in this season’s Premier League title race or at the very least the battle for the Champions League spots.
Man United have dominated this fixture (in the league at least) in the recent past, winning both games against their fierce rivals in each of the last two seasons.
However, this is a Liverpool team bang in form, under a manager in Klopp who demands nothing less than his team going full throttle for as long as possible, for the entire match if necessary.
Two contrasting styles come to blows in what promises to be a fiery encounter at Anfield – but how do the two bosses square up?
Klopp and Mourinho have faced each other competitively five times, with four of those coming in the same season. The 2012/13 season, which turned out to be Mourinho’s final campaign at Real Madrid, saw the Spanish giants come up against Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund on four occasions in the Champions League.
The first time these two met was in the group stages, in a strong group that also contained Dutch legends Ajax and then-Premier League champions Manchester City. The first of those two games ended in a 2-1 victory for Klopp, the second a 2-2 draw at the Bernabéu.
The two would later meet in the semi-final, where nothing was going to stop Klopp and Dortmund from reaching his first Champions League final. A storming 4-1 first-leg win, followed by a measured (if somewhat nervy for the last few minutes) 2-0 defeat in Madrid, solidified the German’s record against his Portuguese rival.
The two also met in the Premier League last season when Klopp, still finding his feet at Liverpool, took Mourinho’s Chelsea apart in a 3-1 win as the Stamford Bridge boss was busy having an elongated meltdown that would result in his sacking less than two months later.
Klopp: 3 wins Mourinho: 1 win Draws: 1
Mourinho’s biggest selling point as a manager, at this point in his career, is his historical success. The 53-year-old has generally been successful wherever he has been (up to a certain point, at least), and his trophy record speaks for itself. In 16 years as a manager,
Mourinho has won:
2 Portuguese Primeira Ligas, 1 Portuguese Cup, 2 Champions Leagues, 1 UEFA Cup/Europa League, 3 Premier Leagues, 1 FA Cup, 3 League Cups, 2 Serie A titles, 1 Coppa Italia, 1 La Liga and 1 Copa Del Rey.
Klopp, by contrast, has tended to stay at clubs for the long haul rather than deliver success then move on almost straight after. He spent seven years at Mainz, followed by seven more at Dortmund, and in all likelihood be at Anfield for a significant period of time too. That said, he has not been without his share of success, winning:
2 Bundesliga titles and 1 DFB-Pokal
as well as bringing teams to a number of cup finals (including two in his first season at Anfield) before falling at the last hurdle.
Differing Approaches This Season:
Two parties using contrasting styles, methods and tactics and still hoping to yield the same result at the end is a fascinating concept, and that is what Klopp and Mourinho are attempting to do at their respective clubs.
For starters, their transfer policy has been markedly different. Klopp has shunned the idea that he has to spend big, insisting that he will only buy players that are right for his system. To that end, Liverpool spent less than £70m in this transfer window, and actually ended up turning a profit.
Mourinho, meanwhile, spent around £150m in the summer, breaking the world transfer record in the process and becoming the first manager to oversee over €1billion worth of signings in his career.
Their tactics also differ hugely. While Klopp prefers his teams to be fierce, energetic and pulverizing, Jose is more methodical, and will look to pick teams off as soon as they give his side an opening.
The Respective Teams’ Form:
Three points separate these two sides going into Monday night’s game at Anfield. Liverpool, Burnley blip aside, have looked fantastic under Klopp this season. The added benefit of a pre-season with this manager, plus the new squad additions, has made all the difference to this team.
Leicester, Chelsea, and Arsenal have already been beaten this season, and a fifth Premier League win in a row for Liverpool (given the opposition) would all but confirm that they are at least a strong contender for a top four finish.
Mourinho, meanwhile, has discovered that it will take more than angrily pouting at cameras and signing Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to fix this team. A run of three consecutive wins in all competitions was halted by Stoke City before the international break, and Mourinho knows that losing at Anfield so soon after losing to Pep Guardiola and Manchester City would be disastrous.