Jurgen Klopp is renowned for his dramatic displays of emotion on the touchline, but he states Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone is twice as intense.
The set will go head-to-head Wednesday as their sides match in the Spanish capital in the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie.
Both supervisors’ theatrics and enthusiastic celebrations on the sidelines have won them many admirers but has also landed them in trouble with soccer’s governing bodies through the years.
But Klopp says he’s nowhere near as crazy as the Argentine, for whom he has great admiration.
“Folks say about me that I am emotional on the sideline. If I am on level four, I’d say Diego is on level 12 or so,” he told reporters.
“It is really like I am the Kindergarten Cop against him.”
“That is over all those years, eight decades, that is really long and having this psychological level, wow, that is absolutely impressive.
“His teams are always world-class organized, so that makes him among the best. We met once or twice, exchanged some messages following large defeats or large wins and tomorrow at a very competitive game we meet for the first time, it is going to be interesting.”
Asked if he can highlight any differences in playing style between him and Simeone, Klopp responded: “I do not know him well enough to understand where the differences in managing or style or stuff like that. He was a world-class participant, I wasn’t a world-class participant, we could say that easily.”
Atletico are fourth in La Liga and 13 points behind leaders Barcelona. With only one win from their last seven matches in all competitions, pressure is building on Simeone, but Klopp believes the club should stick with him.
“I can understand it, that is football. Eight decades here, seven of them, probably more effective than Atletico was for… 50 years? I don’t know precisely the club’s history.
“Then you must make large a change, you lose [Diego] Godin, you lose [Antoine] Griezmann, you shed Juanfran and you lose Gabi maybe even a year earlier. That’s tough. You must change the team, bring in new players, they need to get used to your philosophy and style. This takes time, people do not give you time.
“For me it seems like they’ll qualify for the Champions League this season that would be incredible in a transition year. Then next year they’ll be in the right direction and will attack Spain again. I really don’t think Atletico people are too worried”