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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 October 2018

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp calls Carlo Ancelotti's praise tactical ahead of Napoli clash

German manager calls Italian counterpart 'a smart fox' ahead of Group C game in Naples

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not have good memories in Naples, but he seems to have put them behind him. AFP
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not have good memories in Naples, but he seems to have put them behind him. AFP

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described the pre-match praise he received from Napoli counterpart Carlo Ancelotti as “tactics” before the teams play each other in the Uefa Champions League on Wednesday night.

Liverpool have carried their brilliant domestic form into Europe and beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in their Group C opener.

Ancelotti hailed last season’s finalists as one of the strongest teams in Europe in his news conference, but Klopp suggested the Italian was playing mind games.

“I like Carlo Ancelotti. In Germany we say he’s a smart fox. He’s said very positive things about us and nice things about me before a game. It’s nice... but it’s tactics. Carlo is so long in the business,” Klopp said yesterday.

“We’re ready for a real battle. I don’t care too much for what people say about us, how they see our situation... tomorrow we need to step up.

“This is a fantastic manager, a fantastic team and an emotional crowd so that will be a real challenge.”

Liverpool thrashed Napoli 5-0 in a pre-season friendly in August, but Klopp said he would tell his side to forget that result and focus on the challenge ahead at the Stadio San Paolo.

“It was a pre-season friendly, in Dublin – nothing else,” the German said. “It was very Liverpool-orientated, and we scored with each shot pretty much. Napoli had a lot of chances and didn’t score.

“That’s absolutely not important.

“We didn’t talk about that game. It has nothing to do with the preparation for this game. Napoli is really organised with quality in all departments and that makes it a really good team.

“The good news for us is that we’re not too bad as well, that’s why we’re looking forward to the game, but it will be difficult for both.”

Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti, in blue, has enjoyed much success in Uefa Champions League footbal. EPA
Napoli manager Carlo Ancelotti, in blue, has enjoyed much success in Uefa Champions League footbal. EPA

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Klopp also recalled his previous visit to Napoli – in 2013 as Borussia Dortmund manager – was not a high point for him.

Klopp was sent off after berating the fourth official for taking too long to allow defender Neven Subotic to return to the pitch during Dortmund’s 2-1 defeat to the hosts.

“I was there, yes. It was not my best game, to be honest,” he said. “The atmosphere is very good. I only had the first half of the game in the stadium that day.

“I watched the second half with the groundsman in his office. I got a red card that night.”