Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp nurture a healthy rivalry. Managing respectively Manchester City and Liverpool, the two teams that battle season after season for the Premier League title, the two managers have a deep mutual respect. They demonstrated it again on Friday at a press conference, two days the clash between the top two in the Premier League table on Sunday (5:30 p.m.).
« Pep is the best coach in the world. I think we all agree on that and it’s certainly a coincidence that he hasn’t worked out for him in the Champions League so far. Said Klopp, the Reds coach, in reference to Guardiola’s failed European adventure since 2016 and his arrival on the Mancunian bench.
Pep Guardiola with Bernardo Silva during Manchester City’s Champions League final loss to Chelsea on May 29, 2021. (S. Stacpoole/Presse Sports)
Two days before a highly anticipated match, the German coach believes that City is the most difficult rival to face. ” There is no game in the world like the one developed by City, because they are good at almost every part of the game and don’t have any real weaknesses. »
A mutually beneficial rivalry
Those of Klopp, who remain on ten consecutive league victories, are just one point behind the Sky Blues with eight games to go before the end of the season. Despite this momentum, the Liverpool manager remains cautious and believes that Sunday’s clash will not be decisive regardless of the result. ” If we lose, we will be four points away. And if people think it’s over, I can’t do anything about it, but I know no one at City will see it that way. “He bad for the German coach.
This will be the 23rd meeting in all competitions between Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp. As it stands, the record is perfectly balanced between the two men: 9 wins each and 4 draws.
Klopp also recalled how the rivalry with the Citizens had moved the two teams forward, taking them to another dimension. ” We pushed each other to an incredible number of points. Craziness. I never would have thought that this kind of thing was possible, especially in this championship.t”, admitted the former coach of Borussia Dortmund.
“Liverpool? My biggest rival”
Guardiola, on the other hand, sees his Liverpool counterpart as his “ biggest rival ». « Jürgen, as a coach, has been the biggest rival I’ve had in my career and I think what both teams offer is good for football. I will remember my time here when I retire playing golf. I will remember that my biggest rival was Liverpool, that’s for sure. »
A win for the Sky Blues this weekend would go a long way toward preserving their title. But if Liverpool win, the Reds will take the lead in the league. The former Barça coach, however, wanted to minimize the importance of Sunday’s game: ” These three points will be very important, but there are still seven games left, 21 points and a lot of things with the Champions League and the FA Cup. “, he declared.
After this match, City and Liverpool will meet again at least once, in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, April 16th. The two teams could also meet in the Champions League final on May 28, at the Stade de France.