Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola showered his German opponent Jürgen Klopp with praise ahead of Sunday’s top game in the English Premier League against Liverpool FC. “As a manager, Jürgen is the biggest rival I’ve had in my career so far,” said the Spanish football coach on Friday.
Klopp is “a good guy,” said Guardiola: “He knows I admire what he does, the message and the way his team plays.”
Despite their rivalry, the two world-class coaches have great respect for one another. On Friday Klopp called Guardiola the best coach in the world – which the Catalan denied: “Thank you, but I’m not. I would like to tell him that I’m the best, but I’m not.”
Looking back over the past five years, Guardiola said Liverpool were “our greatest opponent” and an “incredible, fabulous challenger” under Klopp. “I will remember my time here when I watch and play golf in retirement. I will remember my biggest rival was Liverpool.”
Even if the top game on Sunday is of great importance for the title race, Guardiola did not want to be carried away by saying that it was decisive. “It will be a very important three points but after that there are still seven games, 21 points and a lot of challenges like the Champions League and the FA Cup.”
In the Premier League, Liverpool are eight games from the end of the season in second place, just one point behind the defending champions Manchester.