Frank Lampard is the brightest English coach for a generation, according to Stan Collymore – because he swore at Jurgen Klopp.
The two managers were involved in a fiery confrontation at Anfield as Chelsea were beaten 5-3 by Liverpool, with Lampard taking exception to perceived arrogance from the hosts.
Lampard has since said he regrets telling Klopp to “f*ck off”, but Collymore was pleased to see him bare his teeth at the home of the Premier League champions.
“Chelsea are bang on track and it’s just a matter of time before the Blues boss makes them a firm fixture at the top,” Collymore wrote in the Mirror.
“What happened at Anfield in midweek has convinced me more than ever that he is the brightest English coach to emerge for a generation.
“Going head-to-head with Jurgen Klopp isn’t for the faint-hearted, but when the sparks flew and Chelsea’s boss let rip with his four-letter rant a smile crossed my face.
“He was annoyed. Everyone had turned up to celebrate a title party. He hadn’t.
“His body language screamed: ‘I’m p*ssed off, I don’t want to be among this. It’s rubbing our noses in it. I’ve told my players to remember this and take it back the next time we face this lot at Stamford Bridge.’
“That is why Lampard will be a success.
“Whether that’s at Chelsea, or maybe he comes back for a second stint, he will be a winner at the club.”
Despite the promise shown by his Chelsea team, Lampard still has plenty to prove as a manager.
His first job saw him take Derby to sixth in the Championship – the same position they finished the season before – while Chelsea look likely to come fourth, below last year’s finish of third and with the worst defensive record in the top half.
The Blues have nonetheless done so without being able to replace Eden Hazard, and with an admirable reliance on youth products.
Whether those youngsters will see as many chances with Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and possibly Kai Havertz and others still to follow remains to be seen, but Chelsea are optimistic abut the future as they return to their big-spending ways.
“In five years’ time – and it has taken Klopp that long, remember – I would not be surprised if we are talking about Lampard’s squad like we talk about the German’s,” Collymore continued.
“It’s been tricky with the transfer ban and the exit of serial match-winner Eden Hazard.
“So, if they did retain their spot in the Champions League and win the FA Cup that would be a really successful first season.
“But if it was fifth and the appearance at a final, I don’t think the board will bat an eyelid.
“Personally, I think the gap to the top is too big at the moment. But they might be ready in the next two years. I can see them having a right crack at it.
“It’s all shaping up and pointing towards Lampard being the brightest English boss I can think of since Glenn Hoddle decided he wanted to get into management.”