Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has revealed that his relationship with Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp is not as close as people may think.
Tuchel and Klopp have followed similar paths in management. The current Chelsea boss followed in Klopp’s footsteps by managing Mainz and Borussia Dortmund.
On Thursday, they will go head to head in the Premier League for the first time when Liverpool welcome Chelsea to Anfield.
Ahead of the visit, Tuchel spoke about how highly Klopp should be regarded.
He said: “Of course there are coaches at the moment in the PL, you enter the competition with the best clubs and coaches in the world and one of them is Jurgen clearly, he has proven that.
“It is a challenge for me to play against him and his teams but we will not meet up for a tennis match, we will play with our teams and we have to be prepared.
“Jurgen has proved to be outstanding, he transforms any club into a unit. He is a big, big part of the clubs.”
However, the German tactician downplayed how well he knows his compatriot.
Tuchel added: “Of course we know each other but not as good as everybody expects. We never met in Mainz and then I was his successor in Dortmund so naturally, did not meet.
“Of course we meet when there is a farewell game for a player in Mainz, it is a lot of fun to talk to him. We meet at coaches meetings, UEFA meetings and we use the time to have lunch or dinner together.
“He is super nice to talk to and a very interesting man. But it is not as close like it might seem.”
Tuchel ‘relaxed’ about comparisons
Having held a couple of the same jobs as Klopp, Tuchel may be drawn to comparisons with the Liverpool boss.
He knows that outwitting the 53-year-old will be a “challenge”, but says he is “relaxed” about the prospect of being compared to Klopp.
Tuchel continued: “This is the challenge, this is the benchmark in terms of league wise and of course in Liverpool at Anfield, we are absolutely aware of this that we step into the biggest challenge.
“The best players play here and we have to face teams with the best managers. I am pretty relaxed about all the comparisons, if there are, between Jurgen and me.”