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Other SportsJurgen Klopp: Pep Guardiola the greatest manager of my lifetime

Jurgen Klopp: Pep Guardiola the greatest manager of my lifetime

Jurgen Klopp has hailed Pep Guardiola as the greatest manager he has seen in his lifetime, as he prepares to face the Manchester City boss for the final time in the Premier League.

Klopp and Guardiola have forged one of modern football’s great rivalries over the last 11 years, first facing off in the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, then leading Liverpool and City to the top of the English game.

Liverpool are one point clear of City at the Premier League summit ahead of Sunday’s showdown at Anfield, which will be the teams’ last league meeting before Klopp departs at the end of the season.

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Speaking at Friday’s pre-match press conference, Klopp described Guardiola as the best manager he has witnessed, highlighting his unrivalled influence on the direction of the sport.

Asked what makes Guardiola’s the world’s best coach, Klopp said: “The way he influenced football. It’s as easy as that.

“With the amount of trophies he has won in his career, he behaves like he never won anything before! So it’s about the desire he has. It’s absolutely outstanding.

“I do the job myself so I see excellence when I face it, and Pep is definitely that. There are so many different things he did with his teams throughout the years.

“How could I judge managers from the past? But in my lifetime, he’s the outstanding manager, definitely.”

Despite Liverpool finishing as Premier League runners-up to City when collecting 97 points in 2018-19 and 92 in 2021-22, the German insists he has not grown tired of facing Guardiola.

Indeed, Klopp believes Guardiola’s standards have made him a better manager, saying: “I was never frustrated. I also knew about 3,000 footballers that were better than me and I still loved the game.

“It never frustrated me but it definitely made me a better manager, having to find solutions to win games against these teams.

“I just got told I have a positive record against Pep, but I don’t know how that happened! I know I am quite good at what I do as well, but you asked me about the best, and he is the best.

“I cannot say where he is better than me, you just see the way his teams play. There could be areas where I am better than Pep, I don’t know.

“It might be a question of taste. People might prefer the way we have played through the years compared to them, I love it, for example! It’s just an easy observation for me, from the outside.”

Klopp still holds out hope of facing Guardiola one last time in English football, meanwhile, with Liverpool and City still among the favourites to lift the FA Cup.

“On Sunday, it’s not about me having that opportunity for the last time. Anyway, it’s not true because maybe in the FA Cup – if we get through the next round – we could meet again,” Klopp said.

“It’s the game of the weekend, so being able to be part of that is massive and fantastic for everybody.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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