Liverpool are travelling to Manchester on Sunday where they will play Pep Guardiola’s City. Jurgen Klopp praised Man City calling them “the most difficult team to play” and praised the team’s manager.
Klopp and Guardioala have a history of facing off against each other. The two managed the most succesful German sides at that time, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. They are both now fighting to find success as managers in the Premier League. Klopp talked about his anticipation for the game and the need for his team to earn points at this stage in the season.
“These games are always important. I can’t remember a game that was not important in the Premier League,” Klopp said. “We all know the quality of Manchester City. I thought the way they played against Monaco was quite impressive. City could have won the game easily but because they are human beings they are out.”
“But their quality is really high. You have to win all the challenges, if you lose one it can hurt. We have felt good in these [big] games so far but, for me, they are the most difficult team to play.”
“I know their image in this country is different, the Pep Guardiola style… but it’s real football. It’s difficult to defend against them. We know what we have to do but if we can do it, I don’t know.”
Klopp: “For me, City is the most difficult team to play against. We know what we have to do.” pic.twitter.com/fqLR49eiKl
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) March 17, 2017
Jurgen Klopp also mentioned his ongoing rivalry with Pep Guardiola and the admiration he holds for the manager. “I would say Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona squad was the perfect role model for a winning situation. It was an outstanding combination. It was also another really good generation at Bayern Munich, there was not a second team in Germany, we tried to be it but it didn’t happen.
“Coming here, it’s the most difficult league in the world. It’s really difficult to become champions in England. In other countries it is difficult. Here a win is everything, in other countries if you played with other styles you would have an empty stadium. Everything is legal, the culture is different. I am not in doubt about his qualities. I respect him a lot. I have played him a lot and it is difficult to play his teams.”
Both City and Liverpool have their sights on a Champions League finish. Liverpool are in fourth place, one point behind City. The Manchester side also has to deal with the recent disappointment of being knocked out of the UCL. City lost their second leg with Monaco 3-1. With a 6-6 score on aggregate, they were eliminated following the away goals rule.
“I don’t think we are the favourites. That’s not too bad,” Klopp added. “We know that we can be difficult to play in games like this, that’s true, but we have to be at our best to get anything. I am really looking forward to this, it’s a real tactical challenge. It’s an important moment in the season, but we know that it’s possible to win.”
Both teams have faced serious issues with injuries this season. Injuries have been especially difficult on Liverpool. Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson are unlikely to be ready for the game on Sunday. Dejan Lovren, Roberto Firmino and Divock Origi are rumored are rumored to be healthy and may get some playing time.
Klopp also addressed the rumors that midfielder Emre Can may depart Liverpool at the end of the season. The player’s contract is due to expire and negotiations are said to have broken down. Can is rumored to have asked for a £100,000-per-week which the club rejected. However, Klopp believes that the club and the player will manage to work things out.
“Yes, we are in talks. They are good because Emre likes to be here. We really like him as a person and as a player. So there are talks, there is nothing else to say. It actually makes no sense to talk about it, but because I obviously heard there was a story out there [I will]. Until the final year starts – there are a few months still – no problems, absolutely no problems. Completely good talks [have been] held with a lot of other players and if there is something to say about it we will be the first.”