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Klopp praises ‘really special’ Guardiola but says he won’t miss their rivalry | Jurgen Klopp


Jurgen Klopp says he won’t miss his rivalry with Pep Guardiola and looks forward to the day they can have a drink together. The duo will face each other for the 26th time on Sunday Manchester City visit Anfield with Klopp once again preparing to face the man he describes as “the best manager in the world”.

The German and the Spaniard have coached teams against each other for more than nine years, ever since Borussia Dortmund beat Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup in 2013. Klopp won 11 times compared to Guardiola’s nine as a mutual respect grew between them.

Klopp said: “He told me if we’re not managing any club anymore, we’ll sit down and have a glass of wine together, even though I’m not much of a wine drinker.

“I’m not [Roger] Federer and Pep are not [Rafael] Nadal, but they compete at the highest level and are [still] Best friends. Pep and I are not the best of friends because we don’t know each other, but I have a lot of respect for him and I know he also respects what we do, so that’s fine.”

Despite the constant struggle for trophies and occasional skirmishes on the sideline, a mutual understanding was formed between them. “You don’t have to show disrespect just because you’re rivals,” Klopp said.

“As for the games, I would say we have a good relationship without meeting, without talking, but it’s respect and during the games we’re both competitors but we’ve handled it very well so far. [any disrespect] Out of all that, honestly, if the situation is like that, I don’t have a problem with it.”

Liverpool are 12 points adrift of the team they finished second to last season heading into the weekend’s meeting, meaning another title battle between the two is unlikely. This is Guardiola’s final year, his contract expires in the summer.

When asked whether he would like Guardiola to continue next season, Klopp joked: “I would prefer Pep to take four years off. He’s the best manager in the world and he proves that all the time, every day, what they do is special, it’s really special, and I respect that.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola believes Liverpool’s lowly position in the league means little. “Two months ago, three months ago, Liverpool were fighting for an unprecedented situation in English football, fighting for four titles,” he said. “They won two, lost one point after another and, well [Champions League] final, they had more shots on goal, more chances, more everything than the opposition and they lost.

“By just two small details they failed to achieve what no other English team had done. It’s the same team with the same manager.”


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