Jurgen Klopp made an admission about his reaction when he heard Carlo Ancelotti was appointed as Everton manager.
The Premier League champions Liverpool will take on the leaders, who have won all four of their starting games, on Saturday.
Since arriving at Goodison Park last December, the Italian has won 53 per-cent of his 28 games in charge.
His form has seen them score 12 goals in their opening games while the Reds are looking to recover from conceding seven against Aston Villa before the international break.
And the Liverpool boss has admitted be felt a slight panic when the Italian put pen to paper on the other side of Stanley Park.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp said: “I love him. So it’s really difficult for both of us because we have to act like we hate each other but we don’t.
“That’s how it is. He’s the manager of Everton and I’m the manager of Liverpool but apart from that we have a really good relationship.
“He did an incredible job. I was never in any doubt about that.
“When I heard he will go there I thought ‘Oh God’.
“I didn’t like the fact but now he’s there and he did an incredible job.”
Klopp and Ancelotti have faced off eight times in previous fixtures, with the Liverpool coming out on top three times with two draws.
But the Toffees have been handed a triple injury boost ahead of the Merseyside derby.
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“Andre Gomes is available for Saturday, no problem,” Ancelotti said in his own press conference.
“Allan started to train with the team this week. If nothing happens in the next few days he will be available to play against Liverpool.
“I think Seamus [Coleman] is going to be good, too, because he started to train with us on Monday.”
But Ancelotti may have to watch the temper of new signing James Rodriguez, who managed to avoid a red card after a horror stamp on Manchester United flop Alexis Sanchez.
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