(Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp described the pre-match praise he received from Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti as “tactics” before the teams play each other in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Liverpool have carried their fine domestic form into Europe and beat Paris St Germain 3-2 in their Group C opener.
Ancelotti hailed last year’s finalists as one of the strongest teams in Europe in his news conference, but Klopp suggested the Italian was playing mind games.
“I like Carlo Ancelotti. In Germany we say he’s a smart fox. He’s said very positive things about us and nice things about me before a game. It’s nice… but it’s tactics. Carlo is so long in the business,” Klopp told reporters on Tuesday.
“We’re ready for a real battle. I don’t care too much for what people say about us, how they see our situation… tomorrow we need to step up. This is a fantastic manager, a fantastic team and an emotional crowd so that will be a real challenge.”
Liverpool thrashed Napoli 5-0 in a pre-season friendly in August but Klopp said he would tell his side to forget that result and focus on the challenge ahead at the San Paolo stadium.
“It was a pre-season friendly, in Dublin, nothing else,” The German said. “It was very Liverpool-orientated, and we scored with each shot pretty much. Napoli had a lot of chances and didn’t score. That’s absolutely not important.
“We didn’t talk about that game. It has nothing to do with the preparation for this game. Napoli is really organised with quality in all departments and that makes it a really good team.
“The good news for us is that we’re not too bad as well, that’s why we’re looking forward to the game, but it will be difficult for both.”
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)