MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

“3 subs and 1 point” – Jurgen Klopp has history of run-ins & ‘love’ with Chris Wilder

Jurgen Klopp and Chris Wilder are set to do battle for the fourth time on Wednesday night, and it is fair to say there is a bit of history between the two.

It was confirmed in the lead-up to the game that Paul Heckingbottom had been relieved of his duties at Bramall Lane, and was to be replaced by the man he took over from as interim boss back in 2021.

This means that Liverpool face the prospect of dealing with the dreaded ‘new manager bounce’ again – as they did on multiple occasions last season – but it is a familiar face this time.

Back in 2020, the pair were locked in a war of words that stemmed from a disagreement over the introduction of the five-sub rule during the coronavirus pandemic.

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - Thursday, September 26, 2019: Sheffield United's manager Chris Wilder during the FA Premier League match between Sheffield United FC and Liverpool FC at Bramall Lane. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wilder branded Klopp as “selfish” for having the audacity to show concern for player welfare, sarcastically adding that the German is a “world-class politician” when it comes to such issues.

Not one to take such jibes lying down, Klopp retaliated by matching the sarcasm of the Blades boss by saying “ask Chris how we can avoid [injuries].”

The Liverpool manager teased that Sheffield United had “three subs and one point” to demonstrate that no side was benefitting from the new rule, but Wilder responded: “Everybody has that right to [defend their own club’s view].”

It hasn’t always been so frosty, though, with Wilder once saying “I love everything about [Liverpool],” months before the two managers started exchanging verbals.

Despite the differences of opinion, the new Sheffield United manager insisted the following year that he has “nothing but admiration” for Klopp and that “the relationship is absolutely fine.”

Whether the beef will be reignited on the touchline at Bramall Lane remains to be seen, but the five-sub rule has since become firmly established in the Premier League.

The Blades are currently propping up the table with just one win from their first 14 games, and the Reds can compound their troubles by taking care of business on Wednesday night.

Only a win will do if they are to keep the pressure on league leaders Arsenal and stay above Man City, having leapfrogged Pep Guardiola’s side into second place over the weekend.