Pep Guardiola has heralded the Liverpool side of the last two years as the “toughest” he has faced in his career, with Jurgen Klopp causing the Spaniard countless headaches.
The Liverpool boss has faced off against a Guardiola side a total of 19 times throughout his managerial career, 11 of which have come in England.
And Guardiola has experienced more defeats against Klopp than any other manager, with nine, three more than the next manager in Jose Mourinho – and he has not won at Anfield in five visits.
The battle first started in Germany with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, but now Man City and Liverpool are the ones going head to head for the top honours, with the Reds winning six of their last 11 games against one another.
The two teams have seen English records fall in their wake in the last few years, with Liverpool the latest to steamroll their way to the Premier League title.
The Reds, of course, finished 18 points ahead of City in 2019/20, a season after finishing just a single point behind their counterparts in a tightly-contested title race.
And after feeling the wrath of Liverpool on a number of occasions, with the unrelenting pressure and pressing, Guardiola admitted Klopp’s side of the last two years are the toughest he has faced throughout his career.
“The toughest opponent I’ve ever faced in my career is this Liverpool from last year and this one,” Guardiola told DAZN.
“If you let yourself be dominated, they lock you in the area and you can’t escape. When you dominate them, they run into space like no one else. They are very fast going backwards.
“They are very strong strategically. Their players have great mental strength. [Klopp] is the rival who has made me think about how to beat him the most.
“If you ask me which has been the most difficult rival for me to face, it has been Liverpool.
“The first years when I arrived in England, Liverpool were a bit weaker than now and Real Madrid were stronger. Now, this Liverpool are the hardest I have come across in my coaching career.”
Guardiola has not been shy in praising the Reds throughout the campaign, with his side emphatically put to the sword to set up another mouth-watering title race in 2020/21.