Jurgen Klopp says he prefers the rivalry between Liverpool and Everton to other adversarial relationships in the world game, revealing opposition fans are friendly towards him in taxis and pubs.
Klopp’s men host Everton at Anfield on Saturday looking to extend a run that has seen them not suffer a derby defeat since 2010.
The former Borussia Dortmund coach knows the importance of the clash to Liverpool supporters, but praised the Merseyside rivalry in comparison to the fierce one his old club have with Schalke in the Bundesliga.
“The difference in this derby is that I really like the respect we have for each other in the city,” Klopp said to Sky Sports.
“In the game there is nothing more important than the result – but it is not more than that. That is how sport should be.
“When I get in a taxi, if the driver is an Evertonian, he never asks me to get out!
“When I go to pubs where I live there are a lot of Everton fans around me and they accept me – that could be different in Germany with Schalke and Dortmund.”
Liverpool are fourth in the table, six points clear of an in-form Everton side that have only suffered one top-flight loss in 2017.
“I love these kind of games,” said Klopp. “The good thing about derbies is that you don’t have to think about the situation in the league because these games stand for themselves.
“Everybody is 100 per cent focused on winning. You can decide a game on your own emotion and feeling towards something. The world will not change after this game but for all of us it can.”
Up the Reds! pic.twitter.com/vo5XegSxdE
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 1, 2017
Klopp knows derby occasions can create unforgettable moments, recalling a match early in his Dortmund reign that he felt set the tone for the success that was to follow.
He continued: “[In 2008] it was the fourth game of the season and we had already played Bayern, Leverkusen and someone else, but all everyone kept saying was, ‘You have to beat Schalke’ – we were 3-0 down at half-time!
“They should have made it 4-0 just after the break – but they didn’t, and we came back to draw 3-3 and it was the start of a great story.
“I think this was a really decisive moment in my life.”