Liverpool might by no means have performed SV Darmstadt earlier than of their historical past, however Jurgen Klopp has a reference to the membership as participant and supervisor.
Liverpool host Darmstadt at Preston’s Deepdale Stadium on Monday evening, to spherical off their five-game pre-season schedule.
Having performed Karlsruher and Greuther Furth in Germany and Leicester and Bayern Munich in Singapore, Klopp’s aspect are nearer to house this time round.
Unable to play at Anfield on account of ongoing growth work, Liverpool are as a substitute the ‘house’ aspect an hour away towards an all-new opponent.
However whereas the Reds have by no means taken on Darmstadt earlier than, Klopp is definitely accustomed to each the membership and their supervisor.
Whereas a participant at Mainz, he performed Darmstadt eight instances, with 5 wins, a draw and two losses to point out for it – together with two of his 56 objectives as a participant.
The connection runs deeper, too, as a result of German aspect’s supervisor, Torsten Lieberknecht.
Lieberknecht has been in command of Darmstadt since 2021, having beforehand managed Eintracht Braunschweig and MSV Duisburg, main his aspect to the Bundesliga with promotion final season.
Earlier than his profession as a supervisor, Lieberknecht was a midfielder who performed for 5 golf equipment in his native nation in addition to representing Germany under-21s.
His first brush with Klopp was in 1994, when the pair confronted off in a conflict between SV Waldhof Mannheim and Mainz within the 2.Bundesliga.
Lieberknecht began on the precise of midfield for Waldhof, whereas Klopp got here off the bench for Mainz, with the long run Liverpool supervisor struggling a 4-0 defeat.
A yr later, although, they weren’t solely team-mates, but in addition roommates, with Mainz signing Lieberknecht and pairing him with Klopp on away journeys.
Nonetheless, as Lieberknecht instructed BILD in 2021, that modified “comparatively shortly.”
“He at all times needed to smoke his cigarette on the bathroom,” he laughed. “I wasn’t actually a fan of that!”
They went on to play 68 instances alongside one another, and when Klopp was promoted to the function of supervisor in 2001, he briefly turned Lieberknecht’s coach, fielding him on 5 events.
The writing was on the wall for him, nonetheless, and in 2002 he left for 1. FC Saarbrucken earlier than ending his taking part in profession with Eintracht Braunschweig.
After his retirement in 2007, Lieberknecht took over as Eintracht Braunschweig supervisor in 2008, and through a 10-year stint within the dugout he confronted Klopp twice.
Each got here within the membership’s solely season within the Bundesliga because the mid-Nineteen Eighties, with Klopp’s Dortmund profitable each conferences 2-1 in 2013/14.
Earlier than these video games, Klopp hailed his previous team-mate as an “excellent coach.”
Extra not too long ago, Lieberknecht made the journey to Liverpool’s coaching floor in 2019, whereas lockdown noticed him contact Klopp once more for recommendation on coaching.
Monday evening will deliver one other pleasant reunion, although each Klopp and Lieberknecht shall be longing for victory because the marketing campaign correct nears.
For Darmstadt, that can imply a primary season again within the German prime flight since 2016/17, with their opening fixture away to Eintracht Frankfurt on August 20.