There are many reasons why Sean Dyche is both Everton’s Mr Right and Mr Right Now.
A squad that’s been lacking in application, fight and organisation is ready-made for Dyche to work his magic; the disc-bearded general led Burnley to six successive seasons in the Premier League, utilising pluck and balls to regularly bloody the nose of richer clubs.
His press conferences are equal parts engaging and enthralling, with Dyche showing no respect for convention and regularly veering wildly off script. While Evertonians will just want three points, humble football writers have missed the 51-year-old’s odes to lookie likies and the Hacienda.
This is a man with charisma, personality and a plan to keep Everton from the oblivion of a league trip to Plymouth Argyle. But, most importantly, he regularly burrows his way under Jurgen Klopp’s skin.
Both Dyche and Klopp wear their hearts on their sleeves, meaning clashes between the pair have been both frequent and entertaining.
They first clashed in December 2018, with Klopp raging about Burnley’s aggression and Dyche rebuffing claims his players went out to injure their opponents.
As an aside, the Burnley boss added: “It’s funny, he didn’t reference Daniel Sturridge’s cheating. I just can’t believe Jurgen Klopp and Liverpool fans – and I don’t believe they do – would want cheating in the game and sacrifice good, honest challenges.”
The sound of Klopp grinding his veneers into fine dust could be heard at both ends of the M66.
After an uneasy truce, the rivalry exploded at an empty Anfield in January 2021. Burnley’s 1-0 victory ended Liverpool’s incredible 68-game unbeaten home run in the Premier League and Dyche couldn’t resist a dig at half-time.
A zoned-out Klopp was zapped back to the present after receiving some traditional English oaths from his managerial counterpart.
As the Liverpool boss marched to confront Dyche, the gravel-voiced one kept sledging Klopp with the zeal of an Australian wicket-keeper spooking the English opener at the MCG.
Dychey hates the kopites 🤌🏼🔵 pic.twitter.com/5ygAlupu95
— Dylan (@efcstaffo) January 27, 2023
Klopp attempted to brush off the incident as “nothing” at full-time, but Dyche was not as reserved.
“You know when we come to these places, we are allowed to actually fight and are actually allowed to try and win,” the victorious boss said. “That’s all it was. It was nothing out of the normal – just two managers fighting to win a game. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Their most recent flash-point came in August 2021, with Klopp insisting fans who enjoyed tough-tackling should “watch wrestling if you like this kind of thing” and called it “Burnley’s way”.
Dyche, as expected, did not take the comments too well. He replied to Klopp by saying: “My disappointment is he’s name-checking players; there’s absolutely no need to do that.
“We’ve got professional players who have worked very hard in their careers to get to where they’ve got to. The implications of what he said about challenges is wrong, I think it’s inappropriate and it’s not something I would do myself.”
All this should be music to the ears of Evertonians; with Dyche, they have a manager that’s not prepared to roll over and let Liverpool tickle their tummies.
Staying up is the only priority for Everton right now, but Liverpool have ruled the roost over their neighbours for decades now. It’s been too long.
With his Klopp-baiting barbs and unapologetic zeal for challenging opponents, Dyche could prove to be the perfect Everton manager.
By Michael Lee