Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel has said Jurgen Klopp deserves huge credit for making the “whole country love Liverpool”, while he also claimed that his FA Cup final adversary is “the master of playing the underdog”.
The two go head to head in Saturday’s showpiece event at Wembley, with the game representing Chelsea’s last chance of winning silverware this season. The Blues also have the chance to deny Liverpool a potential cup treble, as well as putting their quadruple aspirations firmly to bed.
Klopp’s men have pushed Manchester City all the way in the Premier League title race, although they trail their rivals by three points with just two matches left to play after a recent slip-up against Tottenham.
The intensity of that battle at the top prompted City boss Pep Guardiola to claim that ‘everyone in this country supports Liverpool’ earlier this week, and Tuchel, speaking in his press conference ahead of the game, seemed to side with the Spaniard when asked for his opinion on the matter.
“Jurgen Klopp is the master of being the underdog,” the German said with a smile.
“He can talk you into Liverpool being an underdog against Villarreal and against Benfica, and that it is a miracle how they make it to even draw against them. He does it a lot of times and that’s part of where the sympathy comes from.”
However, the Chelsea manager – whose career has followed a similar trajectory to Klopp – tempered his comments by reaffirming his admiration for his compatriot, whom he knows well: “There’s nothing to be jealous of from my side. Klopp is a fantastic guy and a funny guy, one of the very, very best coaches in the world. And that’s what he does.
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“When he trained Dortmund, the whole country [of Germany] loved Dortmund so now he trains Liverpool, the whole country loves Liverpool and it’s a big, big credit to him.
“This is what you deal with when you play against them. It’s always like this, but it’s also the fun part. So if we are the bad guys, no problem. We don’t want to have the sympathy of the country today. We want to have the trophy.”