Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is in awe of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s longevity in the Premier League.
Klopp has spoken of his surprise at how intense English football is after taking charge at Anfield in October and he goes head-to-head with the league’s longest-serving manager on Wednesday.
Wenger, who is approaching the 20th anniversary of his arrival in north London, was already held in high esteem by Klopp, but the former Borussia Dortmund boss admits his admiration has grown even further.
Klopp said: “My respect goes up day by day because it’s really intensive to work in the Premier League, especially in a team with international matches (for their players) too.
“He had always my biggest respect but now it’s a little bit bigger since I’m here. That’s really a brilliant job he’s done – 19-and-a-half years.
“He’s a high-quality manager, one of the best in the world for sure. This long period, it’s really rare that you can do this but he did. He’s a football maniac, in the best (sense of the word).
“It was always a challenge to play against him and again a challenge that I’m looking forward to.”
Klopp and Wenger have become well acquainted with each other in recent years, having met in the Champions League group stages in 2011, 2013 and 2014 when the former managed Borussia Dortmund.
The Arsenal boss claimed three wins to Klopp’s two after the first meeting finished all square.
Another victory for Wenger would boost Arsenal’s hopes of a first title in 12 years and the Frenchman is keen to prolong his side’s winning run to four games.
“The momentum creates confidence and confidence is vital at that level,” said Wenger.
“In December and now in January we have been consistent and we go into a very important part of the season because we play many games and that consistency is a good basis to go into the next game with the right belief.
“The consistency of our results is very important. Therefore it was important to win on Saturday (against Sunderland in the FA Cup) and not to break that belief.
“It was good for me to see some players that have played less and to be down 1-0 and respond in the way we did and have an outstanding second half. It was all a very positive basis in preparation for Liverpool.”