Pep Guardiola previews Liverpool
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has joked that he hopes Pep Guardiola will quit Manchester City and take a sabbatical amid suggestions the Spaniard could leave the Sky Blues at the end of the campaign. The 51-year-old’s contract is believed to expire at the end of the season with no indication yet that he is set to sign a new one in order to extend his stay at the Eithad.
Liverpool and City have dominated the Premier League over the past five seasons, pushing each other to new heights as they sought to claim the trophy. City have tended to come out on top, taking four titles in comparison to the Reds’ one. The teams will face off at Anfield on Sunday after the away side enjoyed a much more positive start to the campaign, inspired by the goal-scoring form of Erling Haaland.
While many of the biggest rivalries in the history of the Premier League have been characterised by managerial animosity, the same does not exist between Klopp and Guardiola. The pair have struck up something of a friendship during their years battling each other, with immense respect between the two men.
But this has not stopped Klopp from making jokes at the Spaniard’s expense when he was asked about his future in Manchester, light-heartedly implying that he should take a sabbatical.
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“No, I would prefer Pep is doing a sabbatical for four years – 100 per cent!” Klopp exclaimed. “Actually, my preferred solution was that he’d had a sabbatical for the last four years!
“Honestly, it is a joke. Who told you that (Guardiola will leave)? I have no idea. I don’t know how often I have to say it, but he is the best manager in the world – and he is proving that every day. It’s special what City are doing, really special. And I respect that – but that’s it.”
The City boss has a history for taking a year out of the sport, having decided to spend a year on the sidelines after leaving Barcelona before his spell at Bayern Munich.
Klopp was also full of praise for Guardiola’s achievements at the Eithad, suggesting that he was unlucky to have failed to win more during his six-year spell at the club.
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“I think they’ve won an awful lot, to be honest, and were also unlucky in moments not to go through in the Champions League. That’s how life can be. From a sports point of view, I couldn’t respect what they do anymore – and that’s the 100 per cent truth.
“What Pep is doing is outstanding. The way he plays, the ego he shows. He will never stop. He wants to win desperately, each game is the most important.”
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