Soccer-Klopp impressed with Mourinho turning Spurs into 'results machine'

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Premier League - Fulham v Liverpool - Craven Cottage, London, Britain - December 13, 2020 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp after the match Pool via REUTERS/Matt Dunham

(Reuters) - Jose Mourinho has proven he has risen above criticism and bounced back to stake his claim as being a top manager after guiding Tottenham Hotspur to the Premier League summit, Liverpool's Juergen Klopp said on Tuesday.

Mourinho's Spurs have the best defensive record in the league and are ahead of reigning champions Liverpool on goal difference going into Wednesday's top-of-the-table clash at Anfield.

Although Spurs have been accused of being a defensive, counter-attacking team, Klopp said there was more to their game than meets the eye and drew similarities with his own side.

"He (Mourinho) showed obviously some comeback skills, if it was that. Very impressive, what he has done at Tottenham," Klopp told reporters.

"The way they play this year is really good, he turned them into a results-machine... Counter-attack is not their only strategy, they are a proper footballing side.

"Harry Kane drops (deep) in a way Roberto Firmino has done. Quick wingers... A very offensive midfielder in (Tanguy) Ndombele, then very strong midfielders behind. That is football, you cannot be top of the league with only counter-attacking."

Klopp is wary of Spurs' goalscoring duo of Son Heung-min and Kane -- who have a combined 19 goals and 14 assists in the league -- but pointed out they were not the only threats in the side.

"Unfortunately, if we keep them (Son and Kane) quiet, they are still a lot of really good players... with threats from a lot of areas on the pitch," Klopp added.

"(Steven) Bergwijn plays an important role in counter-attacking moments. Ndombele needed a bit longer to settle at Tottenham, but he's now 100% there.

"(Giovani) Lo Celso, (Moussa) Sissoko, (Pierre-Emile) Hojbjerg - a proper unit in midfield. It works well together... And Gareth Bale being fit again is another threat."

Klopp said defender Joel Matip was a doubt for the clash due to back spasms while he will take a late call on midfielder Naby Keita.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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