Pep Guardiola believes his rivalry with Jurgen Klopp has helped him become a better manager and said that the Liverpool manager is “the reason I’m still in this business.” Manchester city get ready to face the league leaders at Anfield.
Guardiola will face Klopp for the 22nd time on Sunday, meaning that only José Mourinho has faced the Catalan more times. Guardiola’s Bayern Munich lost 4-2 to Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund in their first meeting in June 2013 in the German Super Cup final and the pair have nine wins apiece. Klopp hasn’t seen his Liverpool beat City since 3-1 win at Anfield in November 2019 on his way to a first league title in 30 years.
Guardiola attributed the influence of German to his own development. “He helped me, his teams helped me to be a better coach,” he said. “It gave me another level to think about it, to prove myself, what I have to do to be a better coach with our teams to try to beat them. It’s the reason I’m still in this business.
“There are some coaches, Jürgen is one, to challenge you to take a step forward… here we have many years, many competitions together. Each game was beautiful, both teams have the same idea, to score goals in different ways; faster than us but in the same way to win the games ”.
Two goals from Ilkay Gündogan in a crushing 4-1 win ended City’s 18-year wait to win at Anfield last season, although the German midfielder and Oleksandr Zinchenko remain out of the game for Sunday’s showdown and are expected to return after the international break. Liverpool have conceded only once at home in the league, in the 1-1 draw with ChelseaBut Guardiola does not expect his players to be intimidated by the presence of the fans.
“I’m sure the players enjoy playing with the fans at Anfield more than without them,” he said. “We didn’t win at Anfield, I don’t know the reasons, the last four, five years [before last year] because it is an exceptional team. The crowd helps, like in Paris, but it happens in big stadiums: in Germany in Dortmund, or in Atlético de Madrid. It happens, not much because of intimidation but because of the quality of the opponent. We play our game with or without spectators ”.
the 2-0 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain midweek was City’s first since the surprising opening day loss to Tottenham and has controlled its momentum after the brilliant victory over Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. But Guardiola insisted that he was “happier than ever” with his squad despite not being able to add a recognized striker.
“We do it that way or we can’t do it,” he said. “He attacks the space and the goal much more with more people. We don’t have a striker who has this smell when the ball is around the area and it is always there. We have to do it throughout the game, with a lot of people involved, to score goals ”.
Guardiola added: “The way we played the last two games, I am very satisfied with what we have done. The level and the way we play is very good. That is why I am happier than ever because it is so difficult. We still have a lot of details but we are still there after six years. That’s why I’m so proud, I always tell them: ‘I can’t put into words my gratitude and the way we played these two games.’