As Ralph Hasenhuttl completed his surprise move to Southampton as manager, many comparisons were made between the Austrian and Jurgen Klopp.
They were easy comparisons to make. Both are proponents of the gegenpress, both achieved unexpectedly great results as managers of RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
Hasenhuttl was even branded as the “Alpine Klopp” upon his arrival at St. Mary’s.
The Austrian has already worked minor miracles on a previously-beleaguered Saints squad. Southampton now site five points outside the relegation zone with a game in hand over Cardiff City.
Simply put, Southampton’s results and the way they play is a far cry from what Mark Hughes oversaw during his brief tenure at the club.
And, Liverpool boss Klopp has taken notice of the work done by the man who did his coaching badges alongside him in Germany.
“In the time Ralph is in at Southampton I think they are eighth in the form table - that gives you good information about the intensity of the game probably,” Klopp said in his pre-match press conference ahead of his team’s trip to Southampton Friday night. [H/T Liverpool Echo]
“They play a clear style of football. I have to say the job he is doing there is incredible. He brought young players in, academy players, a pretty brave decision.
“It’s a really good side, and the analysis was really interesting because it doesn’t look like a team that fights to stay in the league. They do what they do and they stick to it.”
Klopp even acknowledged the comparisons that could be made between the two.
“We have a few things in common. Ralph worked a long time in Germany,” Klopp added.
“There are a few things you can see, we love good organisation, pressing, counter-press, quick transition.
“Years and years ago we did our badges together, but I was already in charge of a club so I was only there two days. It took [him] longer.
“Ralph did it the hard way. He started in the third division and was successful, then he went to the Championship in Germany, was successful, went on to Leipzig and was really successful, he built something then went to England.
“It’s a proper career, and shows as a manager that your first job doesn’t have to be AC Milan or something. It’s possible that you start deeper and if you are busy and ambitious, things can happen for you.
“I’m pleased for him, he’s a really good guy, funny as well. I’m looking forward to seeing him but it’s not between him and me. The two teams are out there!”