Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have faced each other 22 times, registering nine wins each ahead of Manchester City’s crucial duel against Liverpool on Sunday. The Reds are trailing the Premier League leaders by a sole point and the game at the Etihad Stadium could be decisive for this season’s title race.
It is yet another tight Premier League title race between these sides, who have been the best in England by far over the past few years.
“If I were a different person I would be, probably, a little bit depressed about the fact that Pep Guardiola is constantly coaching these kind of teams,” Klopp told Liverpool’s official website, ahead of the game.
“Maybe in [Borussia] Dortmund we could’ve won more titles if Pep wouldn’t have been at Bayern [Munich].
“Now, it is pretty much the same. Imagine if he would not be here, we probably could’ve won at least one more league title. But I am not like this, thank God. So, I am completely happy with our situation.”
The winners of the last four Premier League titles
Manchester City have won three titles under Guardiola, while Klopp has led Liverpool to one Premier League trophy following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund.
“Liverpool and Manchester City in the last years, we raised the bar, we raised the targets that the Premier League had before, that’s for sure,” Guardiola told Manchester City’s website.
“We push each other a lot, and the other teams realise they have to push more to chase us. That’s the truth.”
Manchester City vs Liverpool has become a top rivalry
Klopp didn’t hesitate to liken the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester City to that of top tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.
“In sport, I think what helps the most is a strong opponent, in the long term especially,” added Klopp.
“I think Nadal and Federer enjoyed the rivalry they had. That’s how it is in sport. I wouldn’t say I’m thankful City is that good, but it didn’t harm our development.”
Breaking down this year’s Premier League title race
After registering 12 consecutive wins between November and January, Manchester City enjoyed a 11-point lead over Liverpool, who dropped points against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Leicester City at Christmas.
However, the Reds managed 10 wins in a row to narrow the gap on Manchester City, who failed to beat Southampton, Crystal Palace and Spurs.
“It was nothing to do with being top of the league,” noted Klopp.
“I didn’t think about that. But we can’t give an inch. To keep in the title race we have to win our games. The next game is a big one, we can’t hide from that.”
Meanwhile, Guardiola never doubted that Liverpool could make a comeback.
“We have to feel the pressure that every game we play we can’t lose,” claimed Guardiola.
Back in 2018/19, the Sky Blues finished one point ahead of Liverpool after winning each of their last 14 games. The Reds came out victorious from their last nine matches, but it wasn’t enough to clinch the trophy.
The title race is tight this season too and both teams are expected to muster more than 90 points each.
Mohamed Salah doesn’t want to give any updates regarding the progress of his negotiations with Liverpool over a potential contract renewal.
The Egypt international simply reiterated that he is focused on achieving the team’s objectives when asked whether he was confident about extending his contract with the Reds.
“I can’t say yes, I can’t say no, but I have said many times before about what I want,” Salah told Sky Sports.
“But again, I can’t go deep into my contract now because it is a really sensitive situation.
“The team need to win and I can’t be just going into the news and just talking about my contract. I just focus with the team, and that is it.”
Salah’s contract runs until 2023 and Liverpool may risk losing him on a free transfer next summer if they don’t manage to renew his deal.
“Well [there is] not much [to say] but honestly, but what I can say is there are many things people don’t know about,” added Salah.
“I can’t be selfish and talk about my situation. We are in the most important period for the team so I have to just talk about the team, focus on what is coming with the team and that is the most important thing.
“That is all I can say. Hopefully we are going to be more optimistic and see what is going to happen.”
Back in December, Salah turned down an offer of 400,000 pounds a week, reportedly demanding half a million per week to match Cristiano Ronaldo’s salary at Manchester United.
Several clubs including Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona emerged as potential suitors after Salah rejected Liverpool’s offer, but recent reports state that the Egyptian forward has lowered his salary demands after receiving affection from the club and coach Jurgen Klopp when Egypt failed to make it to the 2022 World Cup.