Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that despite his deep admiration for Spanish champions Diego Simeone’s coach, he is still struggling to warm to Atletico Madrid’s style of play.

Klopp struck Atletico’s defensive tactics when Simeone’s men won 3-2 in the Champions League after extra time in Anfield in March 2020 to advance 4-2 overall.

The German apologized for the outbreak on Monday, saying he was showing his frustration at being forced to play the game at a full crowd for months just days before the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was angry, disappointed with a lot of things with the world at the moment,” said Klopp. “Then, in a really strange circumstance, we had to focus on football.

“Diego Simeone is doing everything right. He’s the current Spanish champion. He’s at Atletico, I don’t know how long, but very successful there.”

Klopp said he respects what Atletico have achieved but prefers a different style of football.

“Do I like it? Not too much, but that’s normal because I prefer a different kind of football,” he said. “Other coaches prefer different styles of football so it doesn’t have to please anyone – it just has to be successful and Atletico certainly is.”

Liverpool have been unbeaten in eleven games this season, largely thanks to Virgil van Dijk’s return from a torn knee ligament.

The Dutch captain was injured when Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford lost out in a bad-tempered Merseyside derby last October.

Van Dijk resisted the temptation to rush back to represent his country at Euro 2020 and Liverpool have reaped the benefits as he’s back at the heart of defense.

Simeone said the Dutchman’s return gave the Reds the “security” they lacked last season to attack more freely.

But Van Dijk himself believes he still has a way to go to get back to his best.

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“I don’t think there are many examples of players coming back from an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), a complex knee injury Dijk.

“I want to be the best I can for the team I play for, the fans I play for and the country I play for. The only thing I can do is play games and becoming more confident in the things you do. “

“It’s going in the right direction and I feel good so there is always room for improvement.”

Liverpool are on track for the Champions League round of 16 after winning their first two games before traveling to Madrid.

Atletico needed a late turn to beat 10-man AC Milan in their last European game but are also well-positioned with four points from two Group B games.

kca / jw / pb