Tomorrow’s late clash between the Reds and Manchester City is huge for both teams. Both will be looking to nail down Top 4 spots (and to take advantage of Arsenal’s loss earlier today). City will be looking to flush their midweek defeat in the Champions League from their collective mindset while Liverpool are out to prove that their poor start to 2017 is well and truly behind them. And with this being the last Premier League game before the spring international break and then the mad dash to the finish line, both sides really need a good result.
All this sets up what should be a thrilling contest, one in which the little things will make all the difference. Both sets of players and both managers will be looking for any advantage they can get. And as City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters, Liverpool have one clear advantage over his side— their manager and his excellent hugs.
“He celebrates the goals much better than me, he hugs his players much better than me! He is a charismatic trainer and I admire him a lot.”
Pep went on to describe his own experiences with Jürgen Klopp when he first arrived in the Bundesliga.
“Because for a foreign manager to go to Germany, he took care of me. The first day when I lost the Super Cup [with Bayern], how gentle he was with me. He is a top trainer and the way we play is completely different. He is a German and I am a Catalan so the influence in our cultures are much different. It is of course a big pleasure to play against the big trainers in the world, to push myself against them.”
Could this just be idle flattery? A way to get Klopp and the Reds to lower their guard? I mean, maybe. Pep is pretty crafty. Still, I think it’s worth taking at face value. Klopp Hugs are a shining light in our ever-darkening world, and Pep praising them may well be him stating the obvious. Speaking ill of Klopp Hugs is like speaking ill of puppies; only a monster would find them unappealing. (Or possibly someone with allergies. If you are allergic to Klopp Hugs, please accept my heartfelt apologies.)