Pep Guardiola has reacted to the news Jurgen Klopp will leave Liverpool at the end of the season; Guardiola and Klopp have been big rivals in Germany and England – but the Man City manager believes Klopp will return to the highest level of the game
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he will now sleep better after Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp announced he would leave the club at the end of the season
Pep Guardiola has joked he will sleep better next season knowing Jurgen Klopp will not be a main rival – but claims the Liverpool manager will be back at the highest level soon.
Klopp made a bombshell announcement on Friday he is set to leave the club at the end of the season after eight and a half years in charge – having won every top-level competition available to him at Anfield.
Guardiola’s Manchester City have still dominated the Premier League with victories in four triumphs over the last five seasons – with Liverpool’s 2020 title win the only blot on the treble winners’ record.
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Asked if Guardiola will miss Klopp next season, the City manager replied: “I will sleep better. The games against Liverpool have almost been a nightmare. Of course he will be missed. I was shocked like everyone. I felt listening to the news that a part of Man City will lose something.
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“We cannot define our period together here without him. We cannot define our period without Liverpool. It’s impossible. They’ve been our biggest rival and personally he’s been the best rival I’ve ever had in my life.
“The Premier League are going to miss him, the charisma and his personality. And especially the way his teams play. It’s always been a pleasure to respect his approach, how positive it is no matter what. The fans are going to try to win the game. Of course, I wish him all the best. It’s always tough, but from now on Liverpool will be tougher.
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“Maybe it’s my opinion, he won’t admit it, but he will be back. I know it. Maybe in 10 years’ time, I don’t know, he said he needs to recharge his energy. That’s his personality and his energy. He’ll be back at the national team, another team, somewhere, I don’t know.
“Football needs personalities like him. My dream is I hope we can have dinners together and all the drink we deserve to take.”
‘I felt the same tiredness at Barcelona’
Image: Pep Guardiola saw his Manchester City throw away a two-goal lead at home to Crystal Palace in the Premier League earlier this season
Klopp cited fatigue for not being able to continue as Liverpool boss – after 23 consecutive years as a manager including his times as Mainz and Borussia Dortmund in Germany.
Asked if he understands that viewpoint, Guardiola replied: “He still loves the game, he still lives on the touchline with the passion. But it’s nine years in the same place, the demand is so high.
“Sometimes you feel you need to breathe. You need to take a break, take a step back. So I understand.
“I don’t want to compare with him, absolutely not, but at Barcelona I had the same feeling, to reflect myself. You don’t have time with another one [game] and another one. Maybe it’s the feeling Jurgen felt.”
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The long-term future of Guardiola was also discussed in the Spaniard’s post-match press conference following their last-gasp 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round win over Tottenham on Friday night.
Guardiola has one year left on his contract at the Etihad Stadium – which raises speculation over how long he will continue in Manchester.
Asked if he felt the same fatigue as Klopp in recent years, Guardiola joked: “You want to sack me? I’m fine.
“I’ve still got one more year, I want to do it, maybe I’ll extend. I’m fine. What we did [in winning the treble] last season, you want more and more? It’s not going to happen.
“What is important is just one step at a time. What I feel now is we cannot lose, otherwise Liverpool will leave [us behind in the title race]. We still have the FA Cup, you have to be close [in the Premier League], around the corner is the Champions League.”
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Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino:
“I’m really sad because already we miss him. When we were sacked at Tottenham the first message I received was from him [Klopp].
“On Wednesday [night when Liverpool play Chelsea], I will show my respect because the job he is doing at Liverpool is amazing. If his wish is to rest a little bit it’s fully deserved. It’s sad news for people who love the spectacular in football. He’s a great character, great man which for sure English football is going to miss.
“When he arrived, his first game at White Hart Lane. The legacy is massive. His charisma, capacity to manage and create with an amazing club like Liverpool their own philosophy and history is there. I congratulate everyone involved. He deserves the praise he’ll receive from here until the end of the season.”
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Tottenham manager Ange Postecoglou:
“I’m as surprised as anyone else. He’s a top manager and they’re flying at the moment. We know how much you need to put into this position. He will go down as one of the best. Totally understandable. My only wish is that he stays out of the game for a while for a couple of reasons, so he can give me a bit of a chance.”