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Klopp Puts the Friendly in Friendly Derby

Tomorrow night, Jürgen Klopp will partake in his first Merseyside Derby. Ahead of the match he shared his thoughts about the special relationship between Everton and Liverpool, and how it compares with his experience in the Ruhr Derby.

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

When derby time comes around, it's easy enough for pundits and coaches alike to spout off cliches. "This game can define a season!" Or, "You can throw form out the window!" Well, as you can imagine, the Liverpool boss had much more than cliches to share in a wide-ranging chat with former Everton captain Kevin Ratcliffe and former Liverpool defender Jim Beglin in the Echo ahead of his first Merseyside Derby. He spoke about how team selection and preparation has changed over the years, about his previous experience in the Ruhr Derby, and of course, his thoughts about tomorrow night's showdown with Everton.

It's no secret that Liverpool have been among the busiest sides in Europe this season. With a game roughly every four days, even excellent motivators like Klopp can struggle to find the words (in a second language no less!) to keep getting players to fight through mental and physical exhaustion. In this regard, Klopp sees the Derby as a good thing:

In our really busy schedule it's nice for me to have a game where I don't have to think about finding the right words.

This morning when we were in the dressing room and we spoke a little about Sunday's game at Bournemouth I don't think anyone was really listening!

They are thinking about Everton. I'm okay with that. That's really cool. It's very exciting. It's important too.

Klopp will certainly hope that his first Merseyside Derby will go better than his first Ruhr Derby. His Dortmund side found themselves down 3-0 at the half, and although he was only 4 games into tenure with Die Schwarzgelben, he was already beginning to worry about his job security. In true Jürgen Klopp fashion, his team fought back to end the game on level terms, capped by a stoppage-time penalty.

It could have been 4-0! In that moment I really thought about my wife Ulla. I thought: 'I hope she knows where the suitcases still are because we might need to pack!'

It felt better than winning to be honest. It was the start of something. It was an important moment in the whole Dortmund story. It was easy to enjoy.

Clearly, Klopp is no stranger to fierce local rivalries, but he can see why the Merseyside Derby is nicknamed "The Friendly Derby."

Since I've been here I get the feeling that the rivalry was more aggressive between Dortmund and Schalke. For example, you wouldn't work for Dortmund if you were a Schalke fan. No chance.

If you say 'okay, I'm good at this and this, can I work here?' They'd say: 'what club?' You say Schalke they say: 'thank-you, now go'.

I've met some Evertonians in the street and they've been friendly. I've had taxi drivers who have been Everton fans. They've been really nice.

At the beginning I thought 'okay, maybe they're happy I'm here because they think that means Liverpool won't have any success for the next 20 years!'

You're too modest, Kloppo. However, it may become more difficult to get an Evertonian taxi driver to stop if Liverpool win tomorrow night.

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