Jürgen Klopp. Pep Guardiola.
Their names conjure up flashback moments of the best football I have ever seen and they are arguably two of the most thrilling and innovative managers the Premier League and the world has ever seen.
Today’s match marks the 12th meeting between these two men with their rivalry spanning almost five years and two countries, having begun in 2013 when Pep joined Bayern Munich.
With Sadio Mané’s unfortunate red card in the early half of the last meeting in September 2017, the managers’ head to head record is now on a very intriguing tie (Klopp and Guardiola both have five wins and the draw from March 2017) making today’s game even more exciting.
Let’s take a look…
• Borussia Dortmund (Klopp) 4 – 2 Bayern Munich (Guardiola) – German Super Cup, July 2013
• Borussia Dortmund 0 – 3 Bayern Munich – Bundesliga, Nov 2013
• Bayern Munich 0 – 3 Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga, April 2014
• Borussia Dortmund 0 – 2 Bayern Munich (after extra time) – German Cup final, May 2014
• Borussia Dortmund 2 – 0 Bayern Munich – German Super Cup, Aug 2014
• Bayern Munich 2 – 1 Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga, Nov 2014
• Borussia Dortmund 0 – 1 Bayern Munich – Bundesliga, April 2015
• Bayern Munich 1 – 1 Borussia Dortmund (pens) – German Cup, April 2015
• Liverpool 1 – 0 Manchester City – Premier League, Dec 2016
• Manchester City 1 – 1 Liverpool – Premier League, March 2017
• Manchester City 5 – 1 Liverpool – Premier League, September 2017
Klopp and Pep have a mutual admiration and a genuine respect for each other and their contrasting yet complimentary styles of play. Guardiola stated that Klopp was the best manager in the world for spectators before our 1 – 0 win at Anfield on 31 December 2016.
Klopp praised Guardiola for coming to the Premier League and taking on such a big challenge and also said, Johan Cruyff started Total Football, but Pep made it perfect. He’s an outstanding manager, 100 per cent. He’s very influential.'
In an interview with SkySports, Liverpool legend and Soccer Saturday pundit, Paul Thompson spoke to Klopp leading up to today’s clash and said this about the two managers:
We’ve got Man City coming up. I look at you, and Pep, and I think, are they twins? Not identical twins. But because it’s similar, very offensive, quick, high pressing. You look at it, and maybe the defences have not been the best.
Klopp responded with a wow to being called twins and thanked Thompson for his observations and when asked what he thought, he had this to say;
When I think about the game on Sunday, I cannot forget the first we played against them. It changed the season for City in a positive way and gave us a little knock for a few days and weeks. That was unlucky, it was an open game. Nobody cares about that anymore but it’s the truth. We got a red card, which was the worst place in world football to be one down - wow! No chance that day. We have to pay back, in a football way. We have such a strong group here, they really love working together, if you would have seen the sessions this week they are on fire. I love that, but that doesn’t mean we will win against Man City, but that does mean we can be really difficult for City.
I firmly agree with Thompson about the fact that everybody is looking forward to this match. These two managers epitomize why football is called the beautiful game.
Here’s to a beautiful game we deserve!
Up the Mighty Reds!