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Tuchel: Klopp and I not half as close as people think

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Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says he has never felt as though he is in the shadow of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and insists that they are "not half as close as everybody thinks".

The German duo have often been compared, having both managed Mainz and Borussia Dortmund before leaving the Bundesliga for high-profile European jobs, but have never been at the same club at the same time.

While Klopp has secured Champions League and Premier League triumphs with Liverpool, Tuchel won two Ligue 1 titles with Paris Saint-Germain and reached a Champions League final, before replacing Frank Lampard at Chelsea in January.

The German coaches will go head-to-head in the Premier League for the first time when Liverpool host Chelsea on Thursday, live on Sky Sports, with just one point separating the teams in the race for a top-four finish.

Image: Tuchel took over at Mainz in 2009, a year after Klopp had left, and then replaced him at Dortmund following his resignation in 2015

"It's nice to be compared because he's one of the best coaches in Europe," Tuchel told Sky Sports News. "On one hand it's nice because it tells you you've reached a certain level, and then at some point, it's not nice because it does not tell the truth.

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"I like him a lot and I am full of respect and we have good times when we meet in coaches' meetings, there is no doubt about it, but we are not half as close as everybody thinks.

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"And we also do not have the years in clubs where we are in exchange, or where I can really learn from him, from his coaching methods, because I was never there when he was there."

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Asked what he makes of suggestions he has been operated in Klopp's shadow, Tuchel added: "I never felt really that way because we never had the chance to work with each other.

Image: Klopp and Tuchel will go head-to-head in the Premier League for the first time on Thursday

"So it was not like I joined the academy of Mainz, and Jurgen was there as a head coach - that never happened.

"But me being after him and people comparing us to each other because he had many, many years and left his footprints, and I was lucky to be there five years professional coach, one year in the academy, six years...

"So people comparing each other all the time gave everybody the impression that we came the same way, and then of course. following him in Dortmund made this impression even bigger."

'Big matches helping form opinions'

Tuchel has overseen a nine-match unbeaten run since taking over at Stamford Bridge, but says he expects to learn more about his players during their current tough run of fixtures, which saw them take on Atletico Madrid and Manchester United ahead of facing Liverpool and Everton.

"The view is clearer and clearer and the opinion gets clearer and clearer," Tuchel said. "Of course also with every game and with games on the level like we have now.

Image: Tuchel admits he is still learning about his Chelsea squad

"This is the level where you learn what makes your players be strong and who can perform at this level and who's reliable and where we have problems.

"From all these impressions we build our opinion and we give that to the club, how to improve the team or how to keep on going.

"I'm more looking for accomplices, who is good in combination with whom, because individually I trust everybody.

"Now it's about who is good with whom and who has a good connection and who can give the team something that on the other side maybe is complimentary to that."

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