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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is a "role model" and "one of the best people you can ever meet".
Los Blancos and Liverpool meet at the Stade de France in the Champions League final on Saturday in a rematch of the 2018 showpiece match, as both look to add to their storied European history.
Klopp and Ancelotti, who is the only coach in history to have won all of Europe's big five leagues, are going up against each other for the 11th time as managers, having first met in 2014 when Borussia Dortmund took on Madrid.
The head-to-head record is tilted in favour of the Italian, with four wins against Klopp's three, with a further three draws, including two during Ancelotti's time on Merseyside with Everton.
Indeed, Ancelotti guided Everton to their first win in a Merseyside derby in over 10 years when the Toffees won 2-0 in February 2021, which also marked the club's first victory at Anfield since 1999.
Speaking ahead of their latest encounter, Klopp explained how he thinks the best of his opposite number, and painted a warm picture of their relationship.
"What Carlo is for me is obviously one of the most successful managers in the world," Klopp told reporters. "But he's a role model for me in the way he deals with his success.
"He is one of the best people you can ever meet, I think everybody will tell you that. He's fantastic company, a really nice guy, and we have a really good relationship.
"It had a break when he was at Everton because we both respect this part of the business too much, or we would have gone out to dinner a couple of times. We didn’t do that at all!
"The respect from my side couldn't be bigger. I'm sure he won everywhere, everything, and will never stop. I really respect that, but it doesn't mean anything for this game obviously."
Ancelotti was Milan coach when Liverpool lodged a remarkable comeback in the Champions League final in 2005, coming from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 and then go on to win on penalties.
This season, it has been Madrid who have had a penchant for dramatic turnarounds on the road to Paris.
Madrid roared back to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 thanks to a hat-trick from Karim Benzema, who subsequently scored a decisive extra-time goal versus Chelsea in the quarter-finals before slotting in a match-winning penalty after Rodrygo inspired a comeback against Manchester City.
Liverpool lost 3-1 to Madrid in Kyiv in 2018, with Gareth Bale scoring twice from the bench, and Klopp backed his own side's experience gleaned from that defeat.
"If we would take only the last 10 minutes of all the knockout games they had, we would say they are pretty much unbeatable," he added.
"The comebacks they had are really special, but these games were longer than only these last 10 minutes and obviously they had to come back in moments.
"So the other team were in the lead, we remember the PSG game where they missed a lot of chances they usually [score]. Madrid kept the door open or PSG left the door open.
"But for sure this team is full of experience. They know exactly how to approach a game, especially a final. We felt that harshly in 2018.
"They had a massive advantage to us that night, that was clear. Since then we gained a lot of experience ourselves, which is very helpful."
The "massive advantage" Klopp referred to might well be an injury to Mohamed Salah, who had to be taken off after a collision with Sergio Ramos four years ago.
Salah went on to net from the penalty spot as Liverpool won the Champions League the following year, beating Tottenham 2-0.