Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has spoken out about his rivalry with Pep Guardiola after finding out the Spaniard is out of contract at Man City next summer.
Jurgen Klopp has teased that he hopes Pep Guardiola enjoys a lengthy sabbatical when the time comes for the Spaniard to leave Man City.
Out of contract at the Etihad next summer, Guardiola’s future with the reigning Premier League champions beyond this season currently remains uncertain, with the Liverpool boss admitting he won’t miss their on-field rivalry if his Man City counterpart opts against signing a new deal.
The Reds have been City’s main title-rivals for the majority of Guardiola’s time at the club, but while they have won every major trophy going under Klopp’s watch since his own arrival at Anfield in October 2015, they have only won one Premier League title in contrast to the Spaniard’s total of four.
And when informed that this could be Guardiola’s last season at the Etihad, Klopp joked how he’d be glad to see the back of his managerial rival.
Who told you that? I didn’t know that,” he told reporters. “I would prefer Pep is doing a sabbatical for four years or something! 100%! It wouldn’t be any easier but at least a bit more open.
“Actually my preferred solution would have been that he had a sabbatical the last four years! Honestly, it’s a joke.
“No! (I wouldn’t miss the rivalry). He’s told me that when we are not in charge of any club anymore, we will sit together and can sit together and have a glass of wine, even though I am not a big wine-drinker.
“We could do it when I am working and when he’s off, I would visit him. We could have that talk, no problem.”
Klopp also took the opportunity to again hail Guardiola as the best manager in the world when opening up on the pair’s relationship, revealing he is glad that the two of them have always remained respectful in contrast to previous rivalries between Premier League title-chasing managers.
What Pep is doing is absolutely outstanding,” the German said. “Not only the time he is doing it already, the way he plays, he will never stop.
“He wants to win desperately. Each game is the most important. So many things which are really special for a manager.
I’ve said it, and don’t know how often I have to say it, he’s the best manager in the world and he’s proving that all the time. Every day. It’s special, what they are doing. Really special. I respect that.
“It’s fine. I am a very happy person. I have no problem with the situation. I never understood that. I’m not Nadal, or not Federer and Pep’s not Nadal. They compete on the highest level and are best friends.
“Pep and I are not best friends because we don’t know each other but I respect him a lot and I know he respects what we are doing as well. For a rivalry, we don’t need to be disrespectful.
Around the games, I would say we have a good relationship without meeting or talking. It’s respectful and during the game we are both competitors. So far we’ve done really well from cutting that out.
“The situation is like it is, no problem with that. I always could see brilliance or admit brilliance when I saw it. In this case, it’s the case.”