Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have traded words in the heat of battle, but when it comes to admiration for the other’s work, they do not hide away from being honest.
The two have set the standards in English football for close to a decade and the German’s departure will signal the end of an era – one Klopp would have more to show for if not for Guardiola!
The City boss has pipped Liverpool to the post by the finest of margins, and when asked by TNT Sports if Klopp had made him a better competitor, he replied: “Absolutely. So many times, yeah.
“The dimension of success is the dimension of a rival. When a rival is not good enough, your success is not big enough.
“But competing with this Liverpool for many years – this one and the previous ones – and sometimes beat them, it shows how good we have done.
“It’s the same with them I think when they beat us. It is the best measure to realise what we have done as a team.”
In some ways it is a nod to the league clash that is just around the corner, both teams know the importance of taking points off the other – but we’d say the Reds know that a little too well.
From their time in Germany and England, Klopp and Guardiola have met 29 times and the Liverpool boss has won 12 and drawn six of those meetings.
Whether it is 30 and done at Anfield next month remains to be seen, but Guardiola is “pretty sure” we will see Klopp return to management in the future.
“He will be back I’m pretty sure,” Guardiola said. “Where I don’t know, only he knows it.
“He will rest a little bit and relax and take the perspective because [when you are playing] every third day season after season, it’s difficult to take a perspective of what I’m doing, who we are, what I want in life.
“Sometimes to take a break is really good. He’s going to decide his best.”