Jurgen Klopp has expressed sympathy with embattled Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho as he prepares to take Liverpool to Stamford Bridge for a game which could see the Portuguese off at Stamford Bridge.
Reports have suggested that Mourinho could be sacked by Chelsea with defeat on Saturday, having led the Premier League champions through a woeful defence of their title so far.
Five defeats from 10 league games leave Chelsea languishing in 15th, but Klopp has backed Mourinho to turn it around – pointing to his own experiences as proof there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Borussia Dortmund fell out of the Bundesliga title picture spectacularly last season under Klopp, and went into the winter break bottom of the pile before recovering and scraping European qualification.
“I wasn’t interested in what was being said in public last season,” Klopp said of those struggles. “I had a responsibility to the Dortmund fans and players.
“If people didn’t understand our problems, then I didn’t care. You have to rule your own situation.
“Most of the problems are in the press conferences when you have to find the answers. Sometimes you don’t have the time to change things between matches.
“Mourinho isn’t a worse coach than last year. The players aren’t worse than last year. Things happen. I feel for him as I had something similar but it’s not the end of the world. They can still play football and that’s our problem.”
Clashes between Liverpool and Chelsea have taken on an extra edge in recent years, with the sides’ rivalry intensifying off the back of the Merseyside club’s contentious Champions League semi-final win in 2005.
But Klopp wryly pointed out that this season’s vintage may not live up to the billing.
“It is a big match but in 15 years in football I’ve had some big matches,” he added. “I don’t read the newspapers so I don’t know what you think about this game but it wouldn’t change anything if I knew it because I am full of motivation to win games.
“The better the opponent the more excited the world around us is. Maybe in history it was a great game. Now it is ninth versus 15th.”