Has Klopp just given an olive branch to Wilder ahead of Liverpool visiting Sheffield United?
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Has Klopp just given an olive branch to Wilder ahead of Liverpool visiting Sheffield United?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp appears to have handed an olive branch to Chris Wilder ahead of his team facing Sheffield United.

The Blades host the reigning Premier League champions at Bramall Lane on Sunday evening.

Both sides could desperately do with a win to address their poor runs of form.

For United, they are bottom of the table and 14 points from safety after a run of three straight defeats.

As for the Reds, they have lost their last four league games and are 19 points off leaders Manchester City as their title defence slips away.


That would be enough to give extra significance to this weekend’s fixture. But then there is the added element of an ongoing feud between Klopp and Wilder.

It started earlier this season during a disagreement over substitutions. Klopp backed the idea of increasing in-match changes to five. Wilder went against the idea, saying it favoured bigger teams.

Klopp later dubbed his rival “selfish” and there has been a consistent war of words between the two in the press ever since.

Klopp empathises with Sheffield United boss

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images

It wasn’t always this way. When the two coaches were flying high last term there was plenty of respect shown between the pair.

Klopp led Liverpool to their first top flight title in 30 years. Meanwhile, under Wilder the Blades achieved their highest league finish since 1992.

The two men were the standout candidates to be named LMA manager of the year, with Klopp eventually taking the prize.

Yet the German later admitted that he had voted for Wilder. Klopp also said he regularly watched United having been impressed with their style.

Now the 53-year-old appears to be trying to patch things up.

When asked if he was surprised Wilder wasn’t under pressure of being sacked, Klopp said he understands better than most.

“I had a similar situation with Mainz many years ago when we got relegated from the Bundesliga and nobody had the idea to replace me,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “So, they gave me the job to do it again and I did.

“That’s not done and dusted yet. Nothing is decided and Sheffield still have a chance to stay in the league. But they are not in doubt about Chris because of the quality Chris is delivering.

“Is it normal? I don’t know. But if you have a long story it should be normal.”

Under Klopp’s management, Mainz were promoted to the German top flight for the first time in their history in 2004. They achieved successive 11th place finishes before being relegated in 2007.

Klopp remained in charge for one more year before leaving and taking over at Borussia Dortmund.

There are great similarities between him and Wilder and perhaps this is the first step to them getting back to recognising that.

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