Garry Monk and Jurgen Klopp exchanged warm words in praise of each other as Leeds United and Liverpool prepared to renew an old rivalry at Anfield tonight.
The two men will go head-to-head on Merseyside with a League Cup semi-final place at stake but mutual respect was evident in the build up to United’s first trip to Anfield since 2003.
Klopp, who previously faced Monk during a Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City a year ago, described United’s head coach as a “very promising manager” and said the 37-year-old had been “unlucky” to be sacked as Swansea manager in December.
Monk returned the compliment by saying Klopp had Liverpool “going where they needed to go” amid expectation of a title challenge at Anfield this season. The pair will suspend niceties this evening as Leeds look to pull off an upset and book their place in the last four of the League Cup for the first time in 20 years.
But asked about Monk’s ability, with Leeds lying fifth in the Championship, Klopp said: “I think he’s a very promising manager. I’m happy for him that it works out for him like this. He was unlucky at Swansea and it was a good idea for him to join Leeds. Of course, (tonight), we will see it differently!”
Monk said his team were about to meet a squad who were in firm contention for the top-flight title and he lauded the work done by Klopp since the German took charge 13 months ago.
“I like his personality and his football,” Monk said. “I like the way he goes about it. I’ve already come up against him at Anfield with Swansea. We lost 1-0 but did very well in that game – unlucky to come off losing.
“He’s doing fantastic and you have to respect that. He’s got them going where they need to go, They’re on very good form and he’s got an excellent squad.
“You’d expect to see them up towards the top of the Premier League come the end of the season.”