Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola both labelled each other their best tests in recent press conferences, as it seems even they are looking at this battle as one for the ages.
Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp’s Battle is One for the Ages
Pep Guardiola v Jurgen Klopp: The Greatest Battle in Premier League History?
Not many will look at it as the best ever rivalry in Premier League history right now. Nostalgia is still a thing, after all. But, how can one argue otherwise? This is two managers that pushed each other as far as a 98, 97 point title race. This is a rivalry that reshaped what is needed to win the English crown. This, simply put, is, and has been, historic to watch.
Perhaps the best part is, too, that another chapter is currently being carved. Maybe the best one yet. City sit on 69 points, with 28 games played; Liverpool, on 63, with 27 games played. Win that game in hand, and Jurgen Klopp’s men sit three points behind with April 10’s trip to The Etihad in mind.
In a league full of what sometimes feels like every star in the world, England will have its closest version to El Clasico; it feels that big. Except, this isn’t a battle between two gargantuan players – i.e. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. This is a battle between Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola: Two managers steeped in historic battles, ready for the most highly-anticipated one yet.
Not a Rivalry Steeped in Bitterness, but Certainly the Most Competitive
Of course, it’s not as fierce as Jose Mourinho vs Sir Alex Ferguson or Mourinho vs Guardiola. It will be a strange day when we hear either Klopp or Guardiola speak so slanderously about one another. The closest we get to theatrics, and have come, is Guardiola’s famous ‘twice’ moment at Anfield in 2019, as handballs were waved away.
Instead, both managers use compliments as their greatest strength. A case of not wanting to accept the gold medal before the arrival of the Premier League title, when, even then, grace remains.
The biggest compliment you can pay both Klopp and Guardiola is that, without each other, their honours would be far greater. They’re the definition of the term thorn in a side. Klopp will be looked back on as the only manager in Premier League history to come between Guardiola’s Manchester City machine at their best and silverware. Whilst, at the same time, the City man may be thanked by the other half of Manchester for preventing Liverpool dominance.
The Best in the World
If the Premier League had a Mount Rushmore, the usual suspects would of course feature. Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson. All three shaped the English game at one point, each time in such a unique way. But, alongside them will be Guardiola and Klopp. Two managers that achieved points totals the aforementioned managers simply couldn’t.
To put it simply, before the time of English football’s latest figureheads, a draw in a title race was seen as a satisfactory result. Fast forward to this current era of pure ruthlessness, however, and a draw is a potential disaster. Such is the dominance of both Manchester City and Liverpool, every game is a must win. For once, that is not only a cliche, it is a literal and factual statement.
As it stands, come April, English football is set to witness the ultimate culmination of one of, if not the greatest managerial battle in Premier League history.
Embed from Getty Images