Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp resumed their managerial rivalry on Saturday afternoon when Manchester City traveled to Anfield to play Liverpool. This time around it was the German that got the better of the Spaniard, as Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners thanks to Georginio Wijnaldum’s early header.
Before the contest had even begun, Pep Guardiola talked about how difficult it was going to be to beat Klopp. In fact, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager even went as far as to call Jurgen Klopp the best attacking manager in the world, lavishing praise on the manner in which he gets his attacking players to press the opposition defense.
Pep Guardiola made these remarks during an interview with Sky Sports ahead of the match, insisting that he’s a huge fan of how Liverpool have been playing under Klopp.
“Our styles are not similar but I like a lot the way Liverpool play. Maybe Klopp is the best manager in the world at creating teams who attack the back four with so many players, from almost anywhere on the pitch. They have an intensity with the ball and without the ball, and it is not easy to do that. They attack wide sometimes with [Nathaniel] Clyne and [James] Milner but they especially like to attack from inside, through the middle. I don’t think there is another team in the world attacking in this way with so many players capable of launching moves in an instant.”
Pep Guardiola, who is widely regarded as one of the best managers in the world due to his huge success in both Spain and Germany, went on to admit that he understands why Klopp refers to his style as “heavy metal” football. But at the same time, he pointed out that this is much different to the brand of football he plays, which is referred to as Tiki-Taka.
“When Klopp speaks about his football being heavy metal, I understand completely. It is so aggressive. For the fans it is really good. Our styles are not similar but I like a lot the way they play, for the spectators, because in three or four seconds they are attacking.”
Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp came up against each other repeatedly when they were managing Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, respectively. Their record in these eight contests was actually really even, as they both won on four occasions. Pep Guardiola admitted in his interview with Sky Sports that after losing his first match against Borussia Dortmund as Bayern Munich manager, he was shocked and taken aback by the “lesson” that he’d been taught by Klopp. It was something that he managed to learn from and adjust to soon after.
“I was new and it was ‘wow’, what a good lesson. We lost 4-2. Afterwards in the league I learned a bit more about how to control those situations but it was never easy.”
But after Saturday’s contest, Jurgen Klopp now has a one victory advantage over Pep Guardiola. It was a vital victory for Liverpool, too, as it means that they kept up with league leader Chelsea, who won for the 13th time in a row earlier in the day. Chelsea beat a resilient Stoke City 4-2, thanks to goals from Gary Cahill, Diego Costa, and two from Willian. They are now six points ahead of Liverpool.
Manchester City are still in third place, but their title ambitions are in disarray as they’re 10 points adrift of Antonio Conte’s team. In fact, Pep Guardiola admitted after the contest that his ambition is now just to finish in the top four and to qualify for the Champions League. Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp has his sights firmly set on catching up with Chelsea.
[Featured Image by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images]