Chelsea v Liverpool: Touchline tussle beckons for Klopp and Conte

Both managers are renowned for the remarkable intensity of their touchline antics and the fourth official is likely to have a job on his hands maintaining order in the two technical areas.

Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and Chelsea's Antonio Conte before a pre-season friendly in California.   -  AP

The touchline action could be as explosive as what happens on the pitch at Stamford Bridge on Friday when Jurgen Klopp takes his Liverpool side to tackles Antonio Conte's Chelsea.

Both managers are renowned for the remarkable intensity of their touchline antics and the fourth official is likely to have a job on his hands maintaining order in the two technical areas. Klopp appreciates the similarities, but it is Conte's achievements with Juventus and Italy, rather than his conduct in front of the dug-outs, that have won him the German's admiration.

"I don't know Antonio good enough to know why he is doing it. I know for myself and, as I've said a few times, it just happens to me," Klopp told reporters at Wednesday's pre-game press conference."

"He looks quite emotional, even when they don't score. Obviously he is involved in the game, but that's not the most important thing. The very important thing is he is a great manager, something like the 'Pep Guardiola of Juventus' if you want. He created their special type of play and had a very successful time there and with the national team. It is quite impressive what he has done until now, but I don't play against Antonio Conte."

After defeat at Burnley and a 1-1 draw at Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool returned to winning ways at the weekend with a clinical 4-1 thrashing of champion Leicester City at the newly expanded Anfield.

Chelsea saw its perfect start to the campaign ended by a 2-2 draw at Swansea City in which it went 1-0 up, fell 2-1 down and then rescued a point through Diego Costa's acrobatic 81st-minute equaliser. The way Chelsea let Swansea back into the match suggested the vulnerability that plagued it last season, when it finished 10th, continues to hover below the surface.

But Chelsea winger Victor Moses is convinced that Conte's off-pitch adjustments have set the club on the right path. "I think he is the right man for this club," the Nigeria international told the Chelsea website. He came in and changed quite a few things and everyone was expecting that. The food regime and the training have changed and he wants everyone to gel together as a team. He speaks to every player and wants the best from each and every one of us, and he will get the best out of us."

Last season's corresponding fixture, in late October, saw Klopp pull off the first eye-catching result of his nascent Liverpool tenure as the visitor recorded an impressive 3-1 win.

If the teams' last encounter, in a pre-season friendly in the United States, is anything to go by, Friday's game beneath the floodlights could be a spicy affair. Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas was sent off for an ugly foul on Ragnar Klavan, while Liverpool's Marko Grujic had to go to hospital following a clash of heads with Bertrand Traore.

It could also be spectacular. The two teams average more shots on goal per game than any other sides in the division, while Liverpool's players have covered more distance than any other team.

Croatian centre-back Dejan Lovren is due to return for Liverpool, following a head injury, in place of Lucas Leiva, whose error against Leicester gift-wrapped a goal for Jamie Vardy. But Germany midfielder Emre Can remains absent with an ankle injury.

David Luiz is expected to make his second debut for Chelsea, five years and seven months after his first appearance for the club, which coincidentally came in a home game against Liverpool. The Brazil centre-back, 29, returned to Chelsea from Paris Saint-Germain on transfer deadline day for a reported fee of 32 million pounds ($42.2 million, 37.5 million euros).

Luiz, previously a Chelsea player between 2011 and 2014, is likely to replace captain John Terry, who has been ruled out for 10 days with ankle ligament damage sustained at Swansea.



Key Opta Stats

• Chelsea has lost just once in its last eight Premier League games against Liverpool, though that was in this exact fixture last season (W3 D4).

• Diego Costa has scored five goals in his last five Premier League appearances, including four in four under Antonio Conte this season.

• Liverpool has scored more Premier League goals in 2016 than any other side (50), with 24 of these coming away from home – a joint league-high alongside Tottenham.

• Chelsea has kept just one clean sheet in its last 14 home league games, though this was in its last fixture against Burnley (3-0).

• Jurgen Klopp’s side has conceded in each of its last eight Premier League away games – it last went nine without a clean sheet in May 2005.

• Antonio Conte has not lost any of his last 30 home league matches as a manager (W28 D2 L0) – his last home defeat in league competition came on January 6th 2013 for Juventus against Sampdoria. He has won his last 21 league games at home as a manager.

• This will be the 53rd meeting between these two sides in all competitions this century, more than any other two teams in English professional football.

  Dugout videos