Conte unfazed by Klopp's criticism as Tottenham boss lauds Liverpool model

Liverpool are an example to follow for Tottenham coach Antonio Conte, who has no issues with Jurgen Klopp's disparaging comments on Spurs' style of play.

Spurs host Liverpool on Sunday, with the sides separated by 10 points.

While Conte's team are third, five points adrift of Premier League leaders Arsenal, Liverpool head into the clash on the back of successive defeats to Nottingham Forest and Leeds United, leaving them ninth.

Last season, both league meetings between Liverpool and Spurs finished all square, with a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in December, while the Anfield fixture in May ended 1-1.

After the latter match, in which Spurs had only eight shots to their hosts' 22 but finished with a similar expected goals (xG) value to Liverpool (1.3 to 1.4), Klopp was frustrated by Conte's defensive approach, saying: "I don't like this kind of football... I cannot coach it. I think they are world-class and they should do more for the game – world-class players block all the balls."

Conte shrugged off Klopp's comments, insisting there is no bad blood between himself and the Liverpool manager, though the Italian was quick to note it was a result that ultimately played into the Reds falling short of the title.

He said in a press conference: "Yeah, but if you remember he lost the Premier League for this result.

"I understood his frustration. They lost the title for these two points. But you know, instead we reached the Champions League with that draw.

Tottenham earned a 1-1 draw at Anfield last season
Tottenham earned a 1-1 draw at Anfield last season

"It's OK, every coach has to speak for his team – and for every coach it's important to understand the best strategy to reach a good result.

"Honestly, I have seen again the last game we played against Liverpool and, if there was a team that deserved to win, it was Tottenham, not Liverpool.

"But I understand after a game when you felt you lost the Premier League to say something wrong against another team, but he has said sorry because he understood.

"No problem for me. When you are angry, it's very difficult sometimes to control your emotion."

Spurs splashed the cash in order to bolster Conte's squad heading into his first full season in north London - business which seems to be paying off, with Tottenham having also progressed to the last 16 of the Champions League.

And Conte sees Liverpool's model as an ideal one to follow.

"I think that Liverpool have to be proud because in the last five years they were the big, big rivals for Manchester City," Conte said.

"Without Liverpool, I think it could be like Italy with Juventus.

"For this reason, they have to be proud to reach this level and I think they improved a lot in these years. Sure, they spent money, but Klopp has changed Liverpool and the club gave him the possibility to invest.

"We are talking about an important club in the world with the possibility to spend a lot of money, but it's important to spend the money in the right way.

"I think it was really difficult to become the rival to City and you need the important players, you need the players to be really strong if you want to win. Otherwise you have to be honest and say you have other ambitions."