With Liverpool and Everton set to face-off at Anfield on Sunday in a Merseyside derby of tremendous import for both sides, Jurgen Klopp could get the last laugh over Frank Lampard, whose relationship with the German has been a tense one since his time as a Chelsea manager.
Lampard was in charge of Chelsea two years ago when the Blues travelled to Anfield and lost 5-3 in a fiery game. In that match, a foul on Trent Alexander-Arnold sparked a verbal altercation between Lampard and Klopp, which echoed through the empty stadium and caught everyone’s attention.
The verbal exchange started when Liverpool first team coach Pep Lijnders asked for a foul on Alexander-Arnold, to which Lampard said, “It’s not a f***ing foul. I’m not asking you, so shut up.”
As Klopp stepped in to defend his coach, Lampard had a go at the German, saying, “F*** off you as well. Only title you’ve ever won and you’re fucking giving it the big’un. F*** off.”
The incident, which was laughed off by the Liverpool bench, resulted in some embarrassment for the then Chelsea manager, but the 43-year-old joked about the incident ahead of Everton’s trip to Anfield on Sunday.
Asked whether he looked forward to returning to a fully-packed Anfield, the Everton manager joked, “So nothing can be heard on the videos afterwards? Maybe!”
However, Lampard also clarified that he was “misguided” in his reaction during the Liverpool vs Chelsea tie two years ago, and insisted that things had cooled down between himself and the Liverpool boss.
“It was well meaning at the time, a bit misguided from my point of view,” Lampard said in his pre-match conference on Saturday.
“I have seen Jurgen since then and everything is fine. We all get things wrong but move on because we understand the passion of the game,” the Everton manager added.
Regardless of the nature of their relationship, however, the Everton manager is in for a tough test as his side struggle to remain afloat in the Premier League.
While Klopp’s rampant Liverpool are in the chase for the club’s 20th top flight title in English football, 17th placed Everton are facing the very real prospect of relegation for the third time in their illustrious history.
Sitting just one point above the relegation zone, anything but a victory at Anfield is likely to seriously endanger Everton’s chances of remaining in top flight football.