Watford vs Liverpool: Manager Comparison - Jurgen Klopp v Claudio Ranieri


The first Premier League match after the international break sees Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool take on Claudio Ranieri’s Watford.

Ranieri took over the managerial position from Xisco Muñoz after the last round of fixtures with two weeks to prepare his side for the visiting Reds.

Many factors make this a tricky fixture for Liverpool and Klopp, and the newly appointed Claudio Ranieri gives the match an added wild card.


Ranieri’s managerial career spans over four decades. He’s taken the reins for eighteen clubs (one country), some more than once, mainly in the Italian leagues.

His most decorated seasons came when he managed Fiorentina in the mid-90s and Valencia over the course of his two stints as the manager in the late-90s and mid-2000s.

Ranieri’s most significant success is the title-winning season with Leicester. He may have been criticized for his times at other clubs, but the Premier League trophy is proof enough that the Italian can organize a winning team.
(Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA)

Klopp has his track record, though, and it is pretty impressive. He hasn’t been in the game as long as Ranieri, but he has more top-flight silverware than his Italian counterpart.

Klopp’s time at Mainz resulted in him bringing the German 2. Bundesliga side up to the top flight.

At Borussia Dortmund, he famously toppled giants Bayern Munich to win the Bundesliga twice along with two domestic trophies in his seven-year stay.

Klopp’s latest achievements at Liverpool of the Premier League, Champions League, Club World Cup, and Super Cup cap his already staggering resume.

Style and Tactics

Xisco Muñoz employed a 4-2-3-1 for most of the Premier League matches in his charge. Ranieri famously favored a 4-4-2 (4-4-1-1) formation for his title-winning Leicester team.

A BBC Sport article recalls when Ranieri was known as “Tinkerman” during his time at Chelsea.

The personnel at Watford might not suit his best Leicester formation, but that doesn’t mean the Italian won’t find a way to make Watford structured and dangerous.

A compact defense and lethal counterattacking marked the Leicester winning season and will be a formidable opponent for Liverpool if Ranieri can get it right on Saturday.

Liverpool has grown used to facing teams that sit back and hit on the counter. That tactic would often be the frustrating banana peel in Klopp’s first few seasons at the club.
(Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA)

The title-winning 2019/2020 season obliterated Liverpool’s hangups against teams that parked the bus. Virgil Van Dijk’s long diagonals gave the Reds a cannon from the back that helped break down those stubborn defenses.

The following year, his and the team’s injuries stuttered that domination, but Liverpool sits in 2nd place after seven games this season and has scored in every match.

Injuries in midfield and the possibility of barred players returning from international duty give Klopp a potential headache for selection.

Still, the players who take the field will embody the high-energy football the German manager has made synonymous with the club.

Head to Head

Klopp and Ranieri have faced each other three times in the Premier League while the Italian coached Leicester. The first two matches came in Leicester’s title-winning campaign.

In December, Liverpool won the first game, 1-0, while Leicester took the three points in the reverse fixture, winning 2-0. The third match between the two was in the following season before Ranieri was sacked. Liverpool won 4-1 at Anfield.
(Photo by PA Images/Sipa USA)

Klopp might have the upper hand historically, but Ranieri has beaten Klopp before. With a new manager boost and a Watford side who knows how to get one over the Reds, Liverpool will have to be vigilant to get maximum points.


Both Klopp and Ranieri have rich histories in football. They are both viewed as great managers in the game and have the trophies to prove it.

Their respect for each other has been noted in previous interviews, and the love of their players towards them has been highlighted as well. The classiness around the two managers only adds to their legacies and achievements.

But while both have that classiness around them, once the game starts at Vicarage Road Stadium on Saturday, each manager will be gunning for a result.

There might be smiles, kind words, and hugs before and after the game, but the 90 minutes will be an intense battleground

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