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Klopp and Guardiola say rivalry has made them better managers

Tomorrow afternoon sees the two best Premier League teams of the modern era clash once again when Man City travel to Anfield to take on the Reds.


While the talent on the pitch is clear to see, it is just as much a fascinating battle on the touchline between two managers at the top of their game.


The Premier League has witnessed some lingering managerial feuds over the years from Alex Ferguson and Arsenal Wenger to Jose Mourinho and Rafa Benitez and plenty in between.


Whenever these two heavyweights clash here is naturally going to be some flash points during the ninety minutes but Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have a very healthy respect towards each other.


Prior to their current tenures, the two men went head to head in Germany and in keeping with their qualities as top class managers, nothing separates them in their head to head record.


Klopp and Guardiola have met 21 times in all competitions with eight wins, eight losses and five draws a piece.


And going by their words ahead of this encounter, the ability to push each other to new heights has made them the elite managers that they are today.




The Mirror reported Klopp as saying:


It's really one of the biggest challenges for all managers in football to face Pep’s teams because they are so good.


“I like that because it is one of these games where people say about the Premier League, Bundesliga, Champions League - on this level there is no mercy for mistakes.


“If you make a mistake you get punished, and that is pretty much the game against Man City always. So you had better not make a lot of mistakes because otherwise you will get a knock.


“They have different possible organisations, a clear structure with some changes from time to time. Let’s see what Pep does this year. But the main thing is to keep the ball as long as possible - that gives the opposing team no chance to finish any kind of situation.”


Klopp is certainly not afraid to bring some talking points to the table in his pre-match press conferences, but he insists it is nothing personal and despite having different personalities, they share a mutual goal to make their team the best it can be.


“I annoy him with things I say in press conferences that are not meant to say anything bad about him or Man City. Somebody on the City staff tells him that 'Klopp said this' and I can see in his conference he gets really angry. Sorry for that!


“No, I respect him a lot. I want to win desperately, he wants to do that, and we are completely different personalities, but nonetheless I like him and I respect him.”


“About two years ago we had a few situations where we went together to Manchester for awards, and our families met. And I can tell you that somebody with a family like Pep Guardiola must be a good person, because Mrs and the kids are outstanding and that is what is important to me. So during the game whatever he says and whatever I say; it is not that important.”


For his part, the Spaniard believes both teams share a respect due to their excellence over the past few years.




Since I arrived here - maybe not the first year - Liverpool were always there.


"Jurgen Klopp's teams helped me to be a better manager. He put me at another level, to think about it, to prove myself, to be a better manager. That is the reason why I am still in this business.


"The last four years, all the time, we were both there. It's the biggest compliment that both clubs were there.


Man City broke a long 18-year hoodoo in February when they collected all three points in front of an empty Anfield aided in part by some very uncharacteristic mistakes by Alisson.


But with the Reds back to full strength, Guardiola expects a stern test on and off the pitch.


“Hopefully we can handle it in a good way. I’m pretty sure the players would prefer to play with fans at Anfield than without. Everything is more alive, it’s more difficult.


“I’m very pleased Anfield is full again and we can go there to play a game. It’s nice that the people are back and we can enjoy a fantastic atmosphere there.


“I don’t know the reasons why we didn’t win at Anfield over the 18 years. Over my five years, it was because they are an exceptional team.It’s not about intimidation. It’s about the quality of the opponent. When you don’t win, it’s because they are so good.”


A new chapter in this fascinating rivalry is set to be written.




Edited by TLW

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7 minutes ago, m0e said:

Guardiola can go fuck himself, the over dramatic, bald fucking weirdo

He’s talking shit, there’s no way he wouldn’t jump at the chance of Liverpool being shit and him getting a free run at everything whereas Klopp obviously relishes the challenge.

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Don't like him.

But nothing outrageously disingenuous about what was quoted there.

I'd like to think he surely respects Klopp enough and loves football enough to at least not shy away from today's challenge. 

If he'd rather lose 2-5 at home to Leicester in an empty stadium, than be beaten by a team with Liverpool's history in front of 55,000 people at Anfield - then he actually doesn't really like football.



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Guardiola is a phenomenal manager, Klopp is just better.


Always find it strange on this forum when people pretend all of Guardiola's league titles and European cups are an amazing coincidence, like we don't see people sacked at Chelsea, Madrid, Juve and Barca every 8 months after being exposed/crazy President's.

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A world-class manager surveys his stadium, sees swathes of empty seats and cuts a frustrated figure in the post-match press conference.

For Pep Guardiola, appealing for “more fans to come” to the Etihad in 2021, read Jurgen Klopp talking about “feeling alone” at Anfield in 2015; two of the greatest coaches adopting the same strategy in an attempt to re-energise their fan base.

The reactions were vastly different, Guardiola met with hostility from elements of his own support, while Klopp found a receptive audience and was broadly lauded for mobilising the Kop.

The contrast has everything to do with the state of the clubs when the managers riskily directed withering remarks at their own stands, and goes some way to explaining why – for all their recent success – City’s hierarchy must wish they had a little of what Liverpool have, while Liverpool’s owners have cause to feel likewise about their gilded rivals.

City versus Liverpool has become certainty versus jeopardy.

City have the security Liverpool still crave. Naturally, that comes from their financial backing, which is such that when they lost the title to Klopp in 2020, it was guaranteed they would soon get it back. For as long as they have their Abu Dhabi owners, City’s success will be multigenerational. When Guardiola leaves, another world-class coach will receive an offer he cannot refuse. The best players will always be affordable, and only ever leave on City’s terms. When Kevin De Bruyne was entering the final two years of his contract, with minimal fuss City extended his deal until his 34th birthday. The 13 major trophies City have won since the 2008 takeover represent a dynasty the modern Liverpool can only hope to replicate.

And yet as Liverpool know from their own past, there can be a fine line between reliability and predictability. Guardiola’s fan appeal was surely intended to puncture a culture of serene expectation which can contaminate the greatest venues when freakishly consistent brilliance starts to become “normal”. Liverpool had the same issue in the 1980s, and Manchester United during the latter years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign, when the most intimidating atmosphere was reserved for a select few.

Fans tend to be more vibrant at the start of footballing revolutions, or when a triumph feels like a consequence of beating the odds. It is doubtful there has even been a noisier stadium in English football history than the Etihad when Sergio Aguero scored the title winning goal against QPR in 2012, and the drama made it the most extraordinary Premier League story ever. Four Premier League titles have since been added, none receiving as much media attention, a natural side effect of favourites winning.

Guardiola might be fighting against a blase epidemic. And such is the rhythmic nature of Guardiola’s possession-based football, the vibe is more conducive to classical music than Klopp’s “heavy metal”.

At Anfield, there are no such guarantees of multigenerational success and, although Klopp still has three years left of his deal, for supporters at least, in the background there is trepidation about what lies beyond his charismatic reign. No one is sure what a post-Klopp world will look like, nor what kind of owner will follow Fenway Sports Group. FSG’s American shareholders will eventually seek a return on their investment, the club recently valued at $1.3 billion (£960 million). In the meantime, they operate with shrewd pragmatism. While City did not hesitate to renew De Bruyne’s deal, FSG still frets over the economic viability of extending Mohamed Salah’s.

An enduring sense of jeopardy ensured every Liverpool title challenge prior to 2020 was met with a near-hysterical clamour to get across the line, fear emanating from the fact no one knew when the next chance would come. That was certainly the case with Brendan Rodgers’s near miss at City’s hands in 2014, and Klopp’s eventual win over them in 2020. The interest in the end of Anfield’s 30-year title wait made it a global story, prompting City accusations of a disproportionate media reaction as Guardiola’s recent wins barely extended beyond a 24-hour news cycle.

Despite their contrasting working environments, Klopp and Guardiola have echoed each other in attempting to portray their clubs as plucky underdogs trying to bloody the noses of neighbouring superpowers. Klopp once depicted Liverpool as Rocky Balboa to City’s Apollo Creed. On Friday, Guardiola suggested City were “honoured” to compete with a legendary club such as Liverpool. Given the economic discrepancies, it is easier for Klopp to get his fan base to buy into the idea that they are fundamental to wrestling back supremacy, turning every Anfield fixture into some kind of holy war.

‘The reds ain’t got no money, but we’ll still win the league,” has become a Kop chant.

That sentiment explains why when Klopp made his critical remarks about the Anfield early-leavers in the aftermath of a home defeat by Crystal Palace soon into his reign, he was preaching to a largely sympathetic congregation.

Guardiola has had no such joy weaponising his stadium, despite consistent attempts by City to present themselves as being persecuted by the “establishment” clubs and Uefa. What Liverpool have which City want most is multiple Champions League wins and the global credibility that brings, helping to make further inroads into an expanding worldwide fan base. The City fans’ relationship with the elite club competition remains complex. Liverpool inadvertently played their role in that on and off the park, John W Henry’s pressuring of Uefa to enforce Financial Fair Play rules long-perceived by City as fuelling their feud with the governing body. It undoubtedly contributed to tensions between both clubs, accentuated by incidents around the 2018 Champions League semi-final first leg at Anfield leaving a lasting scar which spilt over into the 2019 title race.

As has been the case for the last three years, the clubs meet on Sunday as peers – brilliant teams who have brought out the best in each other. There is no way either coach would wish to swap places.

But as Guardiola hears the noise when he approaches the “This is Anfield” sign, and FSG executives note the unlimited depth of City’s resources and longevity of their empire building, perhaps there are occasions when envious glances are cast at each other. 




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