Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has hailed Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta as an ‘exceptional manager’, ahead of the two sides’ meeting at Anfield on Monday.

The fixture will be the first of two encounters against The Gunners in the space of three days, having been drawn against the north London outfit in the Carabao Cup round of 16.

Klopp, who is in search of his first victory over Arteta in the opposite dug-out, spoke of his admiration for the former Everton and Arsenal midfielder, and lauded his considerable progress in a short space of time.

‘Exceptional football manager’

Speaking to BBC Sport, he said, “Mikel Arteta has shown in a pretty short period of time that he seems an exceptional football manager.

“The team he sets up now, the structure of the team is absolutely exceptional.”

The Spaniard has won both previous matches against the German’s Liverpool, defeating The Reds 2-1 at the Emirates in July, before triumphing on penalties in the Community Shield at Wembley, the following month.

Arsenal Training Session
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Balance to the Arsenal force

Arsenal lacked stability defensively, conceding 27 goals last term in the Premier League prior to Arteta’s appointment on December 20 2019.

They conceded six less under him and kept eight league clean sheets (six more than predecessor Unai Emery had managed between August and his departure in November).

Klopp indicated that the Spaniard had given the Arsenal players liberty to express themselves on the pitch, by utilising them in the correct positions.

“The balance between offence and defence is really good. Good organisation, freedom for the players as well, he uses players in the right positions.

“He has done a pretty impressive job and changed the whole mood of the club. So it’s a tough, tough opponent.”

Impressive form under Mikel Arteta

Arteta’s men have lost just once in the league since the win in July, a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa, which was preceded by a victory over previous employers Manchester City, managed by former Barcelona B teammate Pep Guardiola.

He also led the side to FA Cup success, defeating London rivals Chelsea in the final before lifting the aforementioned Community Shield in August.

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