Klopp v Guardiola – a look at the managers
Liverpool travel to Manchester City in a game that could define their season.
Manchester City host Liverpool on Thursday in a match which could have enormous significance in the destination of the Premier League trophy this season.
City’s poor run of form over Christmas allowed leaders Liverpool to move seven points clear of them ahead of the match, and victory for the Reds at the Etihad would leave the champions facing an uphill battle to defend their crown.
Jurgen Klopp is the one manager who has been able to consistently get the better of Pep Guardiola in head-to-head battles between the two.
Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at the two managers ahead of the big game.
Guardiola’s passing style has been a hallmark of his sides at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City. Guardiola likes his teams to be fast moving, to dominate possession, and to be relentless in going forward. Without the ball, he expects them to use just as much energy in chasing down their opponents in order to win it back. Klopp employs a number of the same principles, and through the ‘Gegenpress’ has been one of the few managers who has been able to consistently trouble Guardiola’s teams.
Manchester City’s Christmas blip could determine the destination of the Premier League trophy in May. Three defeats out of four – including a shock home defeat to Crystal Palace – saw City tumble from top spot to third, some seven points off Liverpool’s pace. In contrast Klopp’s men have just kept charging on. They remain unbeaten after 20 games, and a 5-1 rout of Arsenal on Saturday suggests they are exactly where they want to be ahead of the trip to the Etihad.
Chelsea and Manchester City both beaten at home in the Premier League 🤯 pic.twitter.com/p6TqaNrzZr— PA Dugout (@PAdugout) December 22, 2018
Klopp has won more than half of his meetings with Guardiola’s sides over the years – eight of 15 games. No other manager who has faced Guardiola more than 10 times can even claim to have won one quarter of their matches. Klopp’s style, so similar in many ways to Guardiola’s, clearly works as his kryptonite, and it accounted for City’s Champions League hopes last season as they lost home and away to Liverpool in the quarter-finals. City had a golden chance to win the first Premier League meeting between the two sides this season at Anfield but Riyad Mahrez skied a late penalty and it finished goalless.
Guardiola took his tally of major domestic league titles to seven with City’s record-breaking 2017-18 campaign, and has a glittering resume which also includes two Champions League crowns. Klopp’s trophy cabinet – highlighted by two Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund does not compare at the moment – but with his Liverpool side in pole position in the Premier League right now he has an excellent opportunity to start catching up.