Jurgen Klopp says ‘there will always be respect for Pep Guardiola’ ahead of Champions League encounter

They say football is a funny game but we believe the competition draws are funnier. Of all the other European teams, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool got Manchester City to face in the quarter-final of the UEFA Champions League. Let’s just put it down this way; as many as eight Spanish teams qualified for the round yet all of them got different clubs to face, while the Reds somehow got stuck with the Citizens. Hence, there will only be one English team left in the competition in the semi-final.

But in all fairness, this isn’t seeming like a one-sided affair despite Guardiola’s men running riot, not just in England but across Europe. Liverpool will welcome the Premier League leaders in the first leg of the round at Anfield on April 4th and it will be an intense clash. Speaking of this highly-anticipated fixture, Jurgen Klopp played a safe card by saying that despite all the arguments with Guardiola in the past, he respects him.

The UEFA Champions League remains the only viable trophy Liverpool could get their hands on this season and if they somehow manage to bottle it up, it will represent the longest spell for us without winning silverware since the 1950s. Just in, Liverpool’s last major honour came way back in 2012. While as things stand for City, they are just two wins away from lifting the Premier League title for the third time in seven years.

But if the head-to-head records of these high-profile managers are taken under the consideration, it is Klopp who comes on top. The German and the Catalan have locked horns on 12 occasions in the past and the former has emerged victorious six times while the latter has won five. Their rivalry started from their Bundesliga days and the tradition is being followed in England as well. Talking numbers, no manager, who has managed more than 10 matches against Guardiola, has a better record than Klopp.

Speaking about the fixture, Klopp was quoted by Independent as saying,

“During a game, he is always 100 percent in, I am 100 percent in,” Klopp said, ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Watford.

“So far we have never had an argument at the sideline or stuff like that. I don’t know why that is but I respect him of course.

“I am not too interested if that will stay but my respect will not change and I have no idea what he thinks about me.

“From my point of view, I have respect, I think that is normal when you see his teams playing and the work he did in the last few years if you are a football manager then you think, ‘oh not too bad.’

“We don’t know each other really well so it is not like the relationship I have with David Wagner. That is a friendship and it is not like that. We cannot lose anything.”

As far as Klopp’s record against City is concerned, it is again Klopp who emerges victorious. During his Borussia Dortmund’s days, the German faced City twice in the Champions League and while the first game ended in a 1-1 affair, his men went on to win the next round at home by 1-0. This is how Klopp’s result against soon-to-be Premier League champions stand:

Manchester City 1-1 Borussia Dortmund (Champions League, October 2012)

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Manchester City (Champions League, December 2012)

Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool (Premier League, November 2015)

Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City (City win 4-2 on pens, League Cup final, February 2016)

Liverpool 3-0 Manchester City (Premier League, March 2016)

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester City (Premier League, December 2016)

Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool (Premier League, March 2017)

Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool (Premier League, September 2017)

Liverpool 4-3 Manchester City (Premier League, January 2018)

Adding fuel to the already electric tie, Klopp went on to say that Manchester City didn’t want Liverpool in the tie simply because their record against the Reds is poor.

“They didn’t want us,” Klopp added. “We all know about that. Our record is not too bad against City.

“Yes it was a close game here and stuff like that. We are not the team they love to play constantly let me say it like this.

“The good thing is we know more about Manchester City than we could know about any other team we could have faced.

“Although we are not like City in the situation of being already kind of champion, we have to fight for this top-four spot until the end of the season. That’s our situation, it’s no problem. When the games are coming in the Champions League then we think about it and not before or after.”

Jurgen Klopp also admitted that he still is in touch with one of his former Dortmund player Ilkay Gundogan who now plies his trade with Manchester City. The two worked together at Borussia Dortmund and Klopp revealed that as soon as the draw was announced, Gundogan texted Klopp and he replied him back just by saying, ‘see ya’.

“Ilkay said in German ‘bis bald’ and I wrote back ‘see ya’. The message came immediately. Bis bald pretty much means, ‘see you soon’ and I used a scouse phrase ‘see ya’.