Jurgen Klopp has described Mikel Arteta as an “extraordinary football manager” as he targets his first win over Arsenal since the Spaniard launched his revolution in north London.
Liverpool manager Klopp saw his championship-winning team fall to a rare Premier League loss in July when they faced Arteta’s Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal then inflicted a penalty kick defeat against Liverpool at Community Shield in late August, leaving Klopp still on the lookout for the elusive victory over Pep Guardiola’s former assistant.
On Monday, the teams resume their exciting recent rivalry at Anfield, and while Klopp is confident Liverpool can extend their 100 per cent start to the season, he can see Arteta instill a culture at Arsenal built for success.
After nine months at the helm, a club that was devastated by instability before Arteta’s arrival seems to have a solid foothold and a sense of direction.
“Mikel Arteta has in a short time shown that he seems to be a unique football manager. The structure of the team is completely unusual,” said Klopp.
“You can see that the balance between defense and offensive is really good. There is good organization, freedom for the players and he uses the players in the right position.
“Since he’s been there, he’s done a pretty impressive job, changed the whole mood of the club. I do not think many people thought he would have won any competition, but he did it by winning the FA Cup and also English. ‘Super Cup’ [the Community Shield].
“It’s pretty impressive. So it’s a tough, tough opponent.
“They defend properly, all the players are involved. They defend in a 5-4-1, which is a pretty difficult situation. I can say a lot of positive things about Arsenal because it’s true, but I think we still have a chance for Monday night. ”
Liverpool will be without captain Jordan Henderson for the Arsenal match after he was replaced in the victory at Chelsea last Sunday due to a thigh problem.
It could open the door for Thiago Alcantara to make his home debut from the start following his arrival from Bayern Munich.
Klopp was wary of this perspective, yet the recent Champions League winner would be an obvious candidate given how well he performed after replacing Henderson at Stamford Bridge.
“We’ll see,” said Klopp. “We have a few days to train, so we’ll see how we set up. I have an idea, but why do I have to make a decision today? But he’s in conflict, so let’s see.”