Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho rates his new Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp as “one of the top managers in Europe”.
Klopp was appointed as Brendan Rodgers’ successor at Anfield earlier this month but had to wait until his fourth game in charge of the Reds to secure his first win, against Bournemouth in the Capital One Cup on Wednesday.
Klopp had been out of work since leaving Borussia Dortmund at the end of last season, in which the club finished only seventh in the Bundesliga, but Mourinho rates the German as a top operator.
“Liverpool are a good team. They had a very good manager. Now they have a very good new manager,” Mourinho said.
“Jurgen is not a close friend because football doesn’t normally allow that. But I like him a lot and we have a good relationship. As a manager his work speaks.
“Despite last season I consider him one of the top managers in Europe.”
Asked about the changes in Liverpool’s style under Klopp, Mourinho said: “I think everything is the same. Changed some details, obviously, in their tactical approach to matches.
“But this is the nature of the game, especially when you are thinking and speaking about two top managers.
“When you change a top manager for an ordinary one… when you change a top one to another top one, the level is high, they know what to do, it’s just a little bit of difference to the way both think about football.”
Chelsea also refused to comment on former first-team doctor Eva Carneiro’s lawyers serving notice on the club that she intends to seek a claim for constructive dismissal.
A Chelsea spokesman said: “We’re not aware that we’ve received any paperwork.
“It’s an internal staffing matter, so we won’t comment.”
The incident which sparked the Carneiro controversy happened in the opening-day draw with Swansea, when Chelsea began their title defence.
Chelsea sealed the trophy prior to the most recent Liverpool clash, at Stamford Bridge in May, when the Reds afforded their hosts a guard of honour.
The Blues had in January beaten the Reds in a feisty Capital One Cup encounter, when Diego Costa was adjudged to have trodden deliberately on Emre Can and received a retrospective three-match ban.
Mourinho was unhappy with the media for highlighting the incident – something which still rankles.
He said: “You are saying the game was fantastic, but after the game was not so fantastic. Hopefully we don’t have more of the same.”
Mourinho declined to comment on two disciplinary matters hanging over him.
The 52-year-old Portuguese had until Thursday at 6pm to respond to a misconduct charge relating to his half-time dismissal by referee Jonathan Moss at West Ham.
Mourinho expects his appeal against a £50,000 fine and suspended one-match stadium ban for comments made about referee Robert Madley following the October 3 loss to Southampton to be heard on Friday.
“I think so,” he said. “Not optimistic, not pessimistic – just wait.”
Costa (ribs) and Pedro (undisclosed) will undergo late fitness tests to determine if the pair will play on Saturday, while midfielder Nemanja Matic is available after a one-match suspension for his dismissal at West Ham.
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