Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool host Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at Anfield, in a top of the table clash on Sunday.
Since the start of the season, Liverpool and Manchester City have shown some outstanding performances and have been the most interesting sides to watch in the Premier League, reminiscent of last season. Both sides maintain an excellent record in the League, with no losses, as they sit top of the table with equal number of points. In their next fixture, Pep Guardiola’s side visit Jurgen Klopp’s Reds at Anfield. Ahead of this most intriguing fixture of the week, both managers have expressed their admiration towards each other and their respective teams.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Klopp said, “My respect for Pep Guardiola couldn’t be bigger, he is the world’s best manager and that makes it very difficult, but so exciting to play his teams.”
“I have a really good relationship with Pep. A few times before these games, you say a few things and then realise obviously it could have been misunderstood, but then it’s really important to say I really like and respect Pep and his staff. Referring to Manchester City’s performance, he added, “They had an outstanding season, I respect it a lot- I love it, actually. Watching them is really good. I really like the work they do, but on the other side if you play against a team of their quality, the win is even sweeter.”
One can admire Klopp for his humble behaviour towards his opponents as he has a rather impressive record against Guardiola- the German has got the better of the Catalan on eight occasions, more than any other manager. As for City is concerned, Klopp’s Liverpool have managed to beat them on three occasions in all competitions last season.
City, on the other hand, had an extraordinary last season as alongwith winning the title, they managed to reach 100 points, the first Premier League team to achieve that feat. This season as well, the defending champions sit top of the table with zero losses. A few days ago in a pre-match conference, Guardiola was asked for his opinion on having an unbeatable team to which he answered, “I am not feeling unbeatable, not even last season, so everybody can beat us. We have to learn.”
“Anfield is special, they have a good manager and good players and that can happen. It’s how we approach the game and how we are as a team.”
Klopp shared the similar views as well. “ That’s football. If good teams face each other, it’s rare it’s decided long before the end. It’s always hard work.”
Despite winning 4-3 and a 3-0 first leg win in the Champions League last season at Anfield, Klopp admits that those weren’t very comfortable wins. The Reds had to sweat it out all the way to bring out the results. “Normally when you win 3-0, you say it’s halfway done, but it was not even that much of an advantage, it was just a lead,” he said.
“If you asked anyone, they would say it was not done. We had to change a bit tactically in the game and worked better then but we had the opportunity with two really good goals.”
Furthermore the 51-year old added, “It’s not that you go out of a game like this thinking now we have the solution to deal with Manchester City. That was that day and they will try to strike back.”