Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes his rivalry with Jurgen Klopp has made him a better manager.
Guardiola faces his Liverpool counterpart live in the Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday, as the champion City travels to Anfield.
Guardiola said: “Jurgen Klopp’s teams helped me to be a better coach. It put me on another level; to think about it, to prove my worth, to be a better coach. That is why I am still in this business. “.
Guardiola expects another strong title challenge from Liverpool this season.
“Since I came here, maybe not the first year, Liverpool were always there,” he said.
“The last four years, all the time, we were both there. It is the highest compliment that both clubs were there. But in the Premier League there is not just one or two, there are many teams that can fight for the league.”
City’s trip to Liverpool comes at the end of a difficult week after away games in Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
When asked how intense the week had been, Guardiola told a press conference: “Unbelievably, but the level has been so good in these games and despite the result in France, the performance was excellent.”
City managed a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge, but were defeated 2-0 in their Champions League clash in the French capital.
That Sunday game is now regarded as one of the biggest games in English football underlining the progress City have made in recent years, Guardiola believes.
He said: “It is an honor for us to be a rival to Liverpool. Decades ago we were no match for them. For many years we have tried to compete with these legendary clubs, so it is an honor.”
City won at Anfield for the first time in 18 years last season. With the game played during the coronavirus lockdown, it was said at the time that the lack of fans may have helped City, but Guardiola insists he would rather play at a full house.
He said: “I’m very happy Anfield is full again and we can go there to play a game. It’s good that people have come back and we can have a fantastic atmosphere there. Hopefully we can handle it in a good way.”
Klopp: Man City the best team in Europe
Jurgen Klopp described Manchester City as the best team in Europe and said that his Liverpool will have to be at their best defensive level.
Liverpool are the only undefeated team left in the Premier League and are at the top of the standings with 14 points, one point ahead of defending champion City.
“We are in good shape, in a good moment, but that’s what it takes to have a chance against them,” Klopp said.
“For me it is probably the best team in Europe. It is a difficult one.
“They played Chelsea last weekend and everyone was talking about how good Chelsea is. They are good, very good, but City were clearly better that day.
“To win the game we have to score goals, so what we have done in recent weeks is useful because we have confidence in that department. But we have to defend at our absolute highest level to stay in the game and make sure that the goals that we mark are the difference “.
The Reds lost 4-1 at home to City last season and Klopp says their final game will be a “complex soccer challenge.”
“Manchester City is an exceptional football team,” he said. “They lost against PSG, I only knew the result after the Porto game and I said they will probably fight back.
“But after watching the game, they don’t have to. Manchester City played a really good game that they lost in three or four situations, where they didn’t take their chances and PSG scored.
“When you think about the quality of PSG and the way they dominated Manchester City, that says a lot about their quality.”
Premier League Preview: Redknapp’s Liverpool vs Man City verdict | Will Arsenal build on the derby win? | Leicester’s slow start
Peter Smith joins Sky Sports insider Jamie Redknapp, as well as soccer writers Gerard Brand and Simeon Gholam, to look ahead to the Premier League weekend …
PART 1 | Jamie Redknapp explains why he thinks Liverpool will improve on their big showdown with Man City at Anfield on Sunday. The Sky Sports expert also looks at Curtis Jones’ rise and City’s threat in attack.
PART 2 | We consider whether Arsenal are now in a position to take advantage of their big derby day win over Tottenham when they go to Brighton. And what constitutes the success of the Seagulls this season?
PART 3 | There is much praise for Conor Gallagher as we discuss Crystal Palace’s improved form and the future of the Chelsea borrower, before examining a slow start to the season from Leicester.