Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp says he now knows why Sheffield United's Chris Wilder pipped Pep Guardiola to top award
When Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder was named League Managers’ Association (LMA) Manager of the Year last May, it left Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp asking ‘what happened there?’.
His question was not meant to demean Wilder’s achievement of leading the Blades to the Premier League but, understandably, posed because Manchester City had just won the treble under the stewardship of Pep Guardiola.
However, nearly seven months on and ahead of Thursday evening’s meeting between his Liverpool side and United, Klopp says he now understands why Wilder pipped Guardiola to the LMA award.
Since their promotion, Wilder guided United to fifth place at Christmas and won plaudits for his tactical nous - which includes the innovative implementation of overlapping centre-backs.
Klopp is an admirer of Wilder’s work and acknowledges the Blades will cause problems for his all-conquering side.
Speaking to the media ahead of the Anfield clash, the ex-Borussia Dortmund coach said: "When last year he became manager of the year, I thought 'Pep Guardiola won four or so titles, what happened there?'.”
"I watched the Championship from time to time but not in that much detail. But now I know why.
"He has done an incredible job there. It is a really good, organised team. They have caused everybody problems, not only City the other day.
"It'll be like that for us (tonight). They are too good for us to have no problems in the game.
“We have to fight and we have some quality as well, that's what we want to show.
"But Sheffield United have an interesting set-up, an interesting gameplan. Respect."