With Jurgen Klopp having set his sights on being a “pain in the a**” for Man City in the race for the title, Pep Guardiola has lauded his “toughest opponent” ever.
Last month, Guardiola described the Reds as being “a pain in the a** all of the time,” as they have represented the only genuine threat to City’s monopoly on English football.
Klopp responded with the admission that he hoped his side would be “as annoying as possible,” which has remained the case with Liverpool now on a seven-game winning streak in the league.
City avoided a slip-up in the Manchester derby on Sunday as they thrashed Man United 4-1, but with the Reds seeing off West Ham earlier in the weekend, the gap between the two sides remains six points with Liverpool holding a game in hand.
And speaking to Sky Sports after the game at the Etihad, Guardiola doubled down on his “pain in the a**” comment and hailed the Anfield club as his “toughest opponent.”
“Hopefully we can say [we have been] a pain in the a** for them too over the last years, not just [them] to us,” he said.
“I’ve said many times, the biggest success as a manager, for me, is the fact that after winning three Premier Leagues in the last four years, we still run like we run and we are still there to try and win again.
“This is the biggest compliment.
“Normally success can give bad thoughts and you are confused, thinking like maybe you are like you are not.
“Still we are humble enough, every single training, every single game, to do it and do it again, and being there.
“After, you can win or you can lose, but after these guys have done many, many years, still being there, if at the end we are not able to do it, it’s because we have the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced in my 12, 13-year career as a manager.
“Liverpool in the last years are outstanding, and fighting with them and being with them, after a big success in domestic trophies and titles, is the biggest achievement I’ve had as a manager in my career.”