The war of words between Jurgen Klopp and Frank Lampard intensified on Friday with another volley of accusations between Merseyside and west London.
Klopp hit back at Lampard’s claim Liverpool were arrogant and told the Chelsea head coach he had a lot to learn.
Lampard accused Klopp’s staff of crossing a line and showing a lack of respect by leaping up, shouting and smirking at him during Chelsea’s 5-3 defeat at Anfield on Wednesday.
‘It was against the code of how it works on the bench,’ said the Chelsea boss. ‘Managers will call for decisions and it may be right or wrong — and then you speak with each other.
‘But when people on the bench jump up and want to speak across to me, and then smirk and smile, and then continue to do so for quite a while, that is past the code.
‘Not Jurgen Klopp, but people behind crossed the line and that’s what got me agitated.’
Klopp’s assistant Pep Lijnders was the target of Lampard’s fury. The Chelsea manager’s foul-mouthed tirade, following the award of a free-kick for a foul on Sadio Mane, was caught by cameras with expletives ringing around an empty Anfield.
Then, in a post-match interview, Lampard said Liverpool ‘should not get too arrogant’. Frank was in a really competitive mood and I respect that a lot,’ said Klopp. ‘From my point of view, in a situation like that (on the touchline), you can pretty much say what you want.
‘I have said a lot in the past. It is pure emotion: he came here to win the game, to get a point, to make sure of Champions League qualification.
‘What he has to learn is to finish it with the final whistle. Close the book. That is what I don’t like. Speaking afterwards like that is not OK. Frank has to learn. He has a lot of time to learn, he is a young coach. But he has to learn. During a game, words are used — no problem at all. At the final whistle, all the things he said — we are not arrogant. We are pretty much the opposite of arrogant.’
The two managers have a cordial relationship and Klopp liked the way Lampard dealt with Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson during last season at Derby. Lampard, a Premier League champion three times as a Chelsea player, insisted he did not begrudge Liverpool the right to celebrate their title.
‘I applaud them to the highest degree,’ he said, adding that he regretted using such bad language.
‘I shouldn’t be swearing. These things get replayed on social media and I’ve got two young daughters on social media, so I regret that.
‘In terms of having passion to defend my team, no (I don’t regret that). I will defend what I think is right for Chelsea. We had a lot on that game and Liverpool didn’t have anything. I can’t stand there and demand an edge from my players and not have that in myself to drive the club forward.’
Meanwhile, Lampard says he has every faith his players can get their bid for Champions League qualification over the line when they play Wolves tomorrow.
But the former England midfielder does not believe they should allow themselves to be daunted by the challenge.
‘What is important is the players focus on themselves because it is in our own hands, and that is the job I’ll do because we can’t affect what is going on elsewhere,’ said Lampard.
N’Golo Kante could return for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The France midfielder has missed the last five matches with a hamstring problem, but returned to full training yesterday.
TV: Chelsea v Wolves, kick-off tomorrow 4pm, LIVE on Sky Sports Main Football from 3pm.