We have a similar story – Klopp full of respect for Atletico boss Simeone

By Sports Desk February 16, 2020

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp spoke of his respect for Diego Simeone ahead of a trip to the Wanda Metropolitano, saying he had a similar story to the Atletico Madrid head coach.

The Premier League leaders visit Atletico in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Liverpool return to the scene of their victory in last year's final, and they are preparing to face an Atletico side that are struggling.

But Klopp remains wary of Simeone and Atletico, who have just one win from their past seven games in all competitions.

"Their goal difference [in LaLiga] is they have scored only 25 which is not too many, but have conceded only 17, which is low," he told UK newspapers.

"They have had massive injury problems in recent weeks, a lot of strikers missing. But [Alvaro] Morata was on the bench [against Valencia on Friday], I've heard [Diego] Costa is back in training and Joao Felix is available I'm pretty sure.

"If somebody can play for a result, it's Atletico. Mr Simeone, who I respect a lot, he tries everything.

"We have a similar story a little bit. We tried a lot and didn't win, but we still tried. I like that. He is so competitive – wow! Actually, we have a good relationship but I'm pretty sure he will forget that on the touchline because he is so animated."

While facing Atletico away shapes as being tricky, the Wanda Metropolitano will bring back happy memories for Liverpool after their win over Tottenham in last year's final.

But Klopp said his side – who are 25 points clear atop the Premier League – were focused on their task.

"We know that it's just a stadium, but it's a positive emotion that we have when we think about that stadium," he said.

"It was one of our greatest nights and I'm pretty sure that when the boys will go in they will see it.

"But we are not going there for a pilgrimage. For sure not. We have had enough time to let these things settle."

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    TON-UP BUT NOT INVINCIBLE AND THE ROAD TO KIEV

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    CHASING PERFECTION

    Despite that deficit, their efforts in going blow-for-blow with City over 90-minute periods left the impression Liverpool were the best placed of the pretenders to overthrow the champions.

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    In bringing in Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, he spent big for what many see as the finest goalkeeper and centre-back on the planet. Their very presence means risk can be reduced.

    Heavy metal football has given way to a steady pulsing beat that never wavers. In the city of Merseybeat, Klopp has gone electro.

    Amid their steamrollering of the opposition this season, Liverpool have 19 wins by a solitary goal in all competitions. They are frighteningly and ruthlessly clinical. A profligate City trail in their wake, although Guardiola has used this relative freedom from pressure to thumb intriguingly through his tactical playbook in 2020.

    Both men have inspired the other to reach beyond their comfort zones and the result is the two best teams in world football. With Klopp contracted to Liverpool until 2024 and Guardiola talking up an extended stay, the thought occurs that they are each other's motivation for sticking around. There is nowhere better to measure their greatness than against one another.

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