Jurgen Klopp salutes 'football maniac' Arsene Wenger
By Paul Vinnell
Last Updated: 12/01/16 6:22pm
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has saluted "football maniac" Arsene Wenger ahead of the Reds' clash with Arsenal.
The Premier League leaders visit Anfield on Wednesday night, at the start of a year which marks the 20th anniversary of the Frenchman's arrival in north London.
Klopp said he was already a fan of Wenger, but admits his appreciation of the Arsenal manager's work has only grown since he joined him in English football in October.
"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," the German said.
"He always had 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.
He's a high-quality manager, one of the best in the world for sure.
Jurgen Klopp on Arsene Wenger
Arsenal won three of those games, Dortmund two, with one match drawn. But Klopp has an excellent record this season against the Premier League's high-flyers.
As well as defeating Leicester and drawing at Tottenham, the Reds' dominant away wins over Manchester City and Chelsea have proved to Klopp that his players can produce in big games.
"After 10 minutes at Chelsea it was a very, very good away game and from the first second against City," he said.
"The main information we should take out of these two matches is we have to be really good. If we are good, then it could fit for this game of course.
"But Arsenal, together with City, are the two best teams at this moment in the Premier League. To stay in a good position against Man City, they need all the points, they cannot [pick and choose] where they want to get it.
"They will show us that they have real ambitions this year. They're in a good moment.
"We can be, we're not that consistent in the performances in the last weeks but [the 1-0 win over] Stoke was a good sign of what my team is capable of."