Derby manager Paul Warne was in good form after his side’s penalty shootout defeat with brilliant words about “seven-foot” Jurgen Klopp and “respectful” Liverpool.
Before Wednesday’s match, Warne spoke of his desire to meet with Klopp after the game for a special photo and to take part in the traditional British manager practice of talking tactics over a drink.
He revealed how Pep Guardiola did not invite him in for a chat when his Rotherham side were beaten 7-0 by Man City in 2019 – and Klopp did not make the same mistake.
The Liverpool boss conceded that “foreign managers are not used to” post-match meet-ups as “media work is that long,” but he made time for the Derby boss.
And in his post-match press conference, Warne, who is a character, did not only eulogise over Klopp but also Liverpool’s atmosphere for the occasion and the respect his side received.
“He said loads, loads. He said about coming in for a drink after, he must’ve read the thing about Pep [Guardiola] not inviting us in,” Warne said of meeting Klopp.
“So he said, ‘come in’, which is good. He just asked me about how I was so handsome,” he joked.
“No, he didn’t. He asked me how I found it from the different sizes of clubs [from Rotherham to Derby].
“Just the usual manager moaning about injuries and things that you can’t always talk about publicly but can always talk about with another manager because they feel your pain.
“I said I’d go in after, tell you why your team is rubbish and then what I tried to affect and you tell me where you saw my weakness and where we were rubbish.
“You leave and it’s quite cathartic – he does the same job as me but, obviously, on a much bigger scale.
“He’s just massive, all I kept thinking was, ‘if my missus is looking at me this is very emasculating’ because it feels like he is seven foot and I was in a hole!”
Klopp does have that effect, doesn’t he?
But the Liverpool manager was not the only one singled out for praise, with Warne commending the words he received from a member of staff before the shootout.
“Good guy, good footballing guy and in fairness to Liverpool I would say this, and it is creepy, but this is some place, innit?” Warne added on his Anfield experience.
“When they sang ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ before I got a bit goose-pimply, I thought that was pretty amazing.
“It got louder and louder and louder and I noticed there’s some clubs with some pretty good songs beforehand, and I have played here before, but it was something else.
“And just before we took the penalties a member of the staff who worked in the tunnel came up to us and said, ‘no matter what happens in this you should be really proud of your team’s performance’.
“It means quite a lot when people are respectful like that.
“I appreciate when you’re the away team there’s always animosity but there was no abuse from any fans towards us, in fact, I was having a craic with a few of them.
“It just felt like a proper game and a proper atmosphere and, I’m not saying it was David and Goliath, but I’m taking [Jake Collins] off and he’s bringing Firmino on, it doesn’t seem completely fair.
“But, it was a night that our players can treasure and hopefully our fans can.”