I have great respect for 'passionate' Klopp, says Conte

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Clive Rose
The Blues boss has spoken of his admiration for his Sunday opponent and he admits that he likes his expressive nature on the touchline

Antonio Conte has spoken of his admiration for Jurgen Klopp as he prepares his Chelsea side to attempt to close the gap on Liverpool in the battle for the top four. 

Chelsea are able to go level on points with Liverpool but they must beat them at Stamford Bridge before overcoming Huddersfield at home in a midweek fixture - a game they have in hand over the Merseyside club. 

Conte is naturally eager to overcome the Reds at the weekend, even if it is at the expense of Klopp, a figure he holds in great esteem. 

“We are talking about a coach who shows at every moment a great passion for football," Conte told reporters at a news conference at Cobham Training Centre. "I have great respect for Jurgen. You can see that he's present during the game. He wants to help his players during the game.

"You can see that he's always present, in a positive or negative situation, so I have great respect for him. But every coach has his own style to follow the game. Every coach wants to try to pick the best situation to follow his team.

“Fans like it. But you must do this because you are this way. In the past, in the present, in the future. Not only because the fans like this situation. You must be natural to show who you are.

"It's important not to change your behaviour or your characteristics, otherwise you are a fake person.”

Liverpool's path to the Champions League final has come as surprise to some as they remain a long way off Manchester City in the Premier League. 

Conte thinks that an element of luck is needed to do well in Europe's elite competition, but that Liverpool have also put in a sequence of top performances on their run. 

“I think that, in the league, you have 38 games to show you deserve to win the league," Conte said. "To show you are the best during the season.

Liverpool celebrate

"In the Champions League, when you reach the last 16 or quarter-finals or semi-finals, one situation – positive or negative – can change your future in this competition. For this reason, I think that to win the Champions League you must be luckier.

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"You must be good to deserve it, but at the same time you must be lucky. One referee's decision can settle your future totally. In the league, over 38 games, usually the team who deserves to win it wins it. 

"Luck is always important in every competition, but when you have the possibility to play 38 games you can show you are the best. In a little tournament, like the FA Cup or Carabao or Champions League or Europa League, sometimes one decision can move your future.

"Sometimes you are lucky or you are unlucky. I think we are talking about two big achievements. To win the league is important. To win the Champions League is important. The same level. Two important competitions, two difficult competitions to win.”

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