Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has joked about his off-field relationship with Everton counterpart Carlo Ancelotti ahead of the clash between the two on Sunday.
This season’s FA Cup third round weekend will play host to a Merseyside derby for the second time in three seasons, with Virgil van Dijk netting on debut last time to send the Reds through.
Sunday’s tie arrives in contrasting circumstances; while Takumi Minamino could have the chance to follow suit with Van Dijk by making an impression on his first outing, Ancelotti arrives after giving his side a boost since his arrival.
The last time the two managers met was only in September, when Ancelotti was Napoli manager and guided his side to a 2-o Champions League victory in Naples.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Klopp was quick to insist that – joking aside – the pair have mutual respect.
We used to be [good friends],” Klopp teased. “We didn’t see each other a lot, it is strange that we both feel like this, we’ve met around games and meetings as managers.
“When he came here I thought ‘If I had a party could I invite the Everton manager as he lives just around the corner?’.
“I am not sure where he lives but the house next to me is free and that would be really funny [if he moved in].
“I am not on social media but if I took a picture like this [with him] and sent it out, I don’t know how exactly that would look to the outside world, but I would not bring him into this kind of situation.
“I only want to bring him difficulties on the pitch and we always respect each other.”
Meanwhile, in Ancelotti’s press conference ahead of Sunday’s match, the Italian insisted that his side will have to be at their best to beat Klopp’s side.
However, he also told reporters that it will be a fantastic opportunity for his players to claim a rare victory at Anfield, given that Liverpool ar expected to ring the changes.
Ancelotti said: “It is a fantastic challenge but also a fantastic opportunity.
“We are going to play against the best team in this moment, they are world champions so congratulations to them, but this is a fantastic challenge for us.”