Currently, in the Premier League, Liverpool and Manchester City are head to head and battling it out for arguably the best reward in English football, The Premier League trophy and the bragging rights that come with it.
It’s not just a rivalry between the two teams but also a battle between two of the premier league’s most influential managers and tactical geniuses loaded with knowledge and experience in the sport of football.
The first encounter
The rivalry between the managers Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola was born in Germany while both managers were operating in the Bundesliga. Their very first encounter was in 2013 when Klopp’s side Dortmund beat Guardiola’s side Bayern Munich 4-2 in the German Super Cup.
However, Guardiola did manage to get his revenge as his side recorded a 3-0 league victory over Dortmund with goals coming from Robben, Müller, and Götze. The next time these two sides met, it was Dortmund that won 3-0, putting the German manager Klopp ahead. Then in the German cup final, these sides met once again and Guardiola managed to even-out the battle as Bayern secured a 2-0 win.
The 2014/15 season began with Klopp taking another victory as his side beat Bayern with goals coming from Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan. But once again Guardiola prepared his Bayern team to bounce back after the loss and they ended up winning both home and away fixtures, recording a 2-1 win at the Allianz Arena and a 1-0 win away at Signal Iduna Park.
This rivalry soon came to an end though when Klopp decided to leave Dortmund. Before he made his departure his side earned another victory against Bayern in the semi-finals of the German cup, winning on penalties.
Klopp’s career at Borussia Dortmund
Klopp became an icon at Borussia Dortmund after rebuilding the struggling German team that finished 13th in the 2007/08 season, before he was appointed. He then achieved back-to-back Bundesliga titles as well as a German Cup win in the 2011/12 season. Klopp led his Dortmund side to the UEFA Champions League final in 2013 but lost out to fellow German side Bayern Munich at Wembley Stadium.
At the end of the 2014/15 season, Klopp decided to pursue other opportunities and left after seven years in charge at the club. Soon after the German came to England and was appointed the Liverpool manager.
Guardiola’s career at Bayern Munich
Guardiola, very much like Klopp with his winning approach but better, had an outstanding managerial career at Bayern Munich.
During his time at the club, he won 3 Bundesliga titles in a row and picked up silverware along the way such as the German Cup which he won twice, the UEFA Super Cup and the Fifa Club World Cup.
In his first season in charge of Bayern, he led them to a significant league title victory winning 29 games, drawing 3 and losing 2 giving them an overall of 90 points. After 3 seasons at Bayern, Guardiola left and agreed to a deal at Manchester City to replace the previous manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Guardiola and Klopp meet once again
With both managers in the premier league at the start of the 2016/17 season, the rivalry continued.
On New Years Eve Klopp’s Liverpool team secured the full 3 points thanks to wijnaldum’s 8th-minute header. The reverse fixture in March was a lot more meaningful for both teams and managers as the 3 points could have determined a place in the top four.
Surprisingly, the two teams went on to share the points as James Milner’s penalty was cancelled out by Sergio Agüero’s 13th goal of the season. After experiencing the exciting rivalry, fans awaited the next Premier League season to see what it would bring.
When the two teams met this time the story was very different, Agüero opened the scoring for the blues but soon after, Liverpool winger Sadio Mane received a red card for a high-boot on City goalkeeper Ederson.
With the opposition down to 10 men, this was the perfect opportunity for City to wreak havoc on the troubled Liverpool side. The game ended with a 5-0 thrashing for Liverpool, one of Klopp’s heaviest defeats as a manager.
Despite the huge loss, later on in the season Klopp and his side were triumphant at Anfield with goals coming from Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firmino, Mane and Salah. This 4-3 win gave him back his credibility after the embarrassing 5-0 defeat against Guardiola’s side.
2018/19 Title race
In the 2018/19 season, the first match between the two teams ended all square. Although, the situation could have been totally different as Riyad Mahrez was awarded a penalty in the 85th minute after Virgil Van Dijk tripped Leroy Sane in the penalty area. However, Mahrez failed to net the ball from the spot and missed the opportunity to end Liverpool’s unbeaten start to the season and to get ahead in the title race.
The most recent meeting ended with a 2-1 win for Man city and Guardiola. City had a 1-0 advantage in the first half after Agüero hit the back of the net with his strike. Soon after in the 64th minute Firmino equalled the scoreline with a header, Sane then secured the 3 points for City with his effort in the 72nd minute at the Etihad Stadium.
As it stands, with 23 matches having already been played, Liverpool are at the top of the table on 60 points from 19 wins, 3 draws and only 1 loss. There’s just a 4 point difference separating Liverpool from Man city who are in 2nd place on 56 points from 18 wins, 2 draws and 3 losses.
Recently, Guardiola made a comment which could be speculated as a dig at Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side, he said: “One team has been better but it’s January and there are many games left…In January, you don’t win the Premier League.”
Guardiola will be looking to get his second Premier League title on the bounce whereas Klopp will be hoping to gift Liverpool their first League title in over 28 years. The title race has officially commenced but could we be looking at an upset for one of the clubs at the end of the season?
Head to head record
After taking a look at their record it is Klopp that has the advantage, with 8 wins and 2 draws compared with Guardiola whose record stands at 6 wins and 2 draws against the Liverpool manager.