Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admires the work Frank Lampard has done since taking over at Stamford Bridge, as the Premier League champions prepare to face injury hit Chelsea on Sunday.
The Reds got their title defence started with a dramatic 4-3 win over Leeds United at Anfield, while big-spending Chelsea saw off Brighton and Hove Albion 3-1.
Klopp and Lampard – who clashed on the touchline in July – became embroiled in a verbal tussle in the build up to those matches, with Liverpool’s boss criticising Chelsea’s expenditure this window.
However, Klopp insisted he holds no ill-feeling towards Lampard.
“There is no rivalry. You make a story that I said something about the transfer business of Chelsea,” he said in Friday’s news conference. “What I said is that in the situation we’re in, we cannot deal with the situation like other clubs – one of them was Chelsea. I respect a lot what he is doing.”
Liverpool have signed Thiago Alcantara for £20million (€22.5m) from Bayern Munich, though Klopp was adamant that would not mean any player would have to leave the club.
Chelsea, on the other hand, have spent close to £200m bolstering Lampard’s squad for the new season, though the Blues boss confirmed he would be without new signings Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva, though Timo Werner will be fit to feature.
But Lampard echoed his counterpart’s sentiment, insisting there are no issues.
“There’s a lot of airtime for you to fill so I know these rivalries can be scrutinised,” he told reporters. “I’ve got huge amount of respect for him as a manager. What he’s done at Liverpool is incredible, that’s on him. The competitive nature of the 90 minutes can always slightly boil over. The respect I have for Jurgen will never change.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Chelsea – Timo Werner
Germany striker Werner was heavily linked with Liverpool, but it was ultimately Chelsea who snatched him up from RB Leipzig. Werner had 50 per cent of the Blues’ shots in his Premier League debut against Brighton, though just one of these was on target.
Liverpool – Mohamed Salah
Salah stole the show against Leeds, with his hat-trick – two goals coming from the penalty spot and the other a thunderous strike into the top corner. The Egypt star was involved in more attempts at goal than any other Premier League player on the opening weekend of the season (13 – nine shots, four chances created).
KEY OPTA FACTS
• Chelsea have lost each of their last three Premier League meetings with Liverpool; only once before have they lost more in a row against the Reds in the competition.
• After winning just one of their first 16 Premier League visits to Stamford Bridge between 1992-93 and 2007-08, Liverpool have since won six of their last 12 league games away at Chelsea.
• Only Liverpool themselves (22) have won more Premier League matches against the reigning champions than Chelsea (15 – level with Manchester United).
• Chelsea finished the 2019-20 Premier League season with six consecutive home victories, last winning seven in a row at Stamford in Bridge in the competition in December 2017 under Antonio Conte.
• Since their 2019-20 title win was confirmed in June, Liverpool have conceded 15 goals in their eight Premier League games – their previous 15 league goals conceded came across a 23-game spell.