Champions League

'Extraordinary' Guardiola holds no fears for Klopp

2018-04-03 07:13
Jurgen Klopp (Getty Images)

London - Jurgen Klopp has no qualms about saluting Pep Guardiola's ability to create "extraordinary" teams, but the Liverpool boss is convinced he can bridge the class divide when Manchester City visit Anfield for their Champions League showdown.

Having first gone head to head with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, the friendly rivalry between Klopp and Guardiola has its biggest stage yet as Liverpool face City in the Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

Two of Europe's heavyweight managers, Klopp and Guardiola look destined to compete for the sport's biggest prizes for years to come.

But there is strong mutual admiration between the bosses, with Klopp unstinting in his praise for Guardiola's ability to get his players to give life to his purist principles.

"His teams are always excellently positioned. He always has great teams which make excellent decisions," Klopp told UEFA.com recently.

"At Barcelona it was Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Lionel Messi and so on.

"At Bayern Munich he had fantastic players who made a lot of great decisions. Now, with Gundogan, Silva, Aguero, Sane on the left wing, Sterling on the wing, Gabriel Jesus, they're extraordinary.

"Positioning is important, but this is not witchcraft, it is not unusual just because the wing-backs come inside.

"But when the players are in position they move every millisecond in order to be available, and when they are, that's when the individual quality of the player becomes important."

Likewise, Guardiola is an admirer of Klopp's commitment to an entertaining style of play, the Spaniard last season hailing his counterpart as "the best manager in the world for spectators because creates teams to attack the back four".

Despite their ability to thrill the neutral, Klopp and Guardiola had vastly different paths to Wednesday's seismic encounter.

Klopp's journeyman playing career took in stops at unglamourous outposts including Rot-Weiss Frankfurt and Mainz, while Guardiola played for over a decade in the rarefied air of Barcelona, where the local boy made good became a Catalan icon.

It was no different when they took their first steps into management.

Competitive streak

Klopp learned his trade in anonymity at Mainz before enjoying a career breakthrough once he moved to Dortmund in 2008.

Taking over at Barcelona in the same year Klopp arrived at Dortmund, the cerebral Guardiola relished the intellectual and philosophical aspects of management.

Yet that renaissance man image hid a fiercely competitive streak that has fuelled all of his best teams.

Although Klopp twice won the Bundesliga title with Dortmund, who also finished as Champions League runners-up in 2013, the 50-year-old has yet to secure the first silverware of his two-and-a-half-year reign at Liverpool

In contrast, Guardiola has amassed 22 trophies with Barcelona, Bayern and City, including two Champions League crowns and six domestic league titles.

The 47-year-old can make it seven league titles if City get the three points they need to be crowned champions by beating Manchester United on Saturday.

First, Guardiola will focus on finding a way to improve his mediocre record against Klopp.

Leaders City are 18 points clear of third placed Liverpool in the Premier League, but there won't be any inferiority complex from Klopp when they clash for the third time this season.

Liverpool's 4-3 win over City in January saw Klopp take his personal tally against Guardiola's teams to six wins, five defeats and one draw from 12 fixtures.

Klopp has enjoyed more victories over Guardiola than any other manager and he believes he can add to that impressive record because his Liverpool squad is closer in quality to Guardiola's current crop than at any time in their careers.

"There's no big difference, actually. It's just that Pep has always had better teams than me," Klopp said.

"You can see that now with Manchester City - they have a lot more points (in the Premier League) than we do.

"However, that difference has never been as small as it is now."

Read more on:    liverpool  |  champions league  |  jurgen klopp  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
AEK Athens v Ajax, Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis 19:55
CSKA Moskva v Viktoria Plzen, Stadion Luzhniki 19:55
Juventus v Valencia, Allianz Stadium 22:00
Bayern Munchen v Benfica, Allianz-Arena 22:00
Olympique Lyonnais v Manchester City, Groupama Stadium 22:00
Manchester United v Young Boys, Old Trafford 22:00
Roma v Real Madrid, Stadio Olimpico 22:00
Hoffenheim v Shakhtar Donetsk, Wirsol Rhein-Neckar-Arena 22:00
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Atletico Madrid v Monaco, Estadio Wanda Metropolitano 19:55
Lokomotiv Moskva v Galatasaray, RZD Arena 19:55
Porto v Schalke 04, Estadio Do Dragao 22:00
PSG v Liverpool, Parc des Princes 22:00
PSV v Barcelona, Philips Stadion 22:00
Borussia Dortmund v Club Brugge, Signal-Iduna-Park 22:00
Napoli v Crvena Zvezda, Stadio San Paolo 22:00
Tottenham Hotspur v Internazionale, Wembley Stadium 22:00
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Galatasaray v Porto, Turk Telekom Stadyumu 19:55
Schalke 04 v Lokomotiv Moskva, Veltins-Arena 19:55
Liverpool v Napoli, Anfield 22:00
Barcelona v Tottenham Hotspur, Camp Nou 22:00
Club Brugge v Atletico Madrid, Jan Breydelstadion 22:00
Monaco v Borussia Dortmund, Stade Louis II 22:00
Internazionale v PSV, Stadio Giuseppe Meazza 22:00
Crvena Zvezda v PSG, Stadion Rajko Mitic 22:00
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Viktoria Plzen v Roma, Doosan Arena 19:55
Real Madrid v CSKA Moskva, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu 19:55
Valencia v Manchester United, Estadio de Mestalla 22:00
Benfica v AEK Athens, Estadio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica (da Luz) 22:00
Manchester City v Hoffenheim, Etihad Stadium 22:00
Ajax v Bayern Munchen, Johan Cruijff ArenA 22:00
Shakhtar Donetsk v Olympique Lyonnais, Oblasny SportKomplex Metalist 22:00
Young Boys v Juventus, STADE DE SUISSE Wankdorf Bern 22:00
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Which English Premier League club will progress furthest in this season's Champions League?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.