How many times have Guardiola and Klopp faced each other? Who has more wins?
First meets second in the Premier League early kick-off match and Pep Guardiola faces the manager who boasts the best record against him.
Manchester City’s run-ins with Liverpool rarely disappoint and today’s clash at the Etihad promises to deliver another installment of action-packed drama and the best attacking football in the Premier League - despite both clubs being handed the early afternoon kick-off slot (the game was rescheduled) immediately after an international break…
Liverpool’s main rivalry remains with Manchester’s other great club, United but a new battle for supremacy has emerged over the past few years with City. Traditionally, both sets of fans generally tended to get on well, even to the point of showing a mutual respect although that seems to be ebbing away. Whether a new, full-blown rivalry is blossoming is something that Klopp is not sure about: “You’d have to ask the fans,” he told journalists in Friday’s press conference. “Football rivalry, on the pitch, yes, sure”.
The two managers certainly hold each other in high esteem - and with good reason. Out of all of the managers he has faced during his career, Klopp has given the City coach the most headaches and also comes out on top in the head-to-head figures - but only just.
Klopp wins the first encounter
Guardiola and Klopp have met a total of 28 times - 19 of those while they have been at the helm with their present clubs. The first encounter was in Klopp’s native Germany in the 2013 DFL-Super Cup - Pep’s first official game in charge at Bayern Munich. The double-winning side he inherited from Jupp Heynckes (Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal champions) were thrashed 4-2 at Signal Iduna Park. Klopp scored his first win over the Catalan coach, and lifted his fourth trophy.
The balance has levelled out since then - of the 19 meetings between City and Liverpool with Guardiola and Klopp on the bench, both managers have seven wins each while the remaining five games ended level.
And there have been some significant results - Klopp’s Reds dumped City out of the Champions League in 2018 and the FA Cup last year; But Guardiola’s team have served Liverpool several heavy defeats - the 5-0 drubbing at the Etihad in March 2017 ranks among the biggest defeats of Klopp’s managerial career; his Liverpool were thumped 4-0 in this fixture in 2020 and last season’s meeting delivered a similar result - 4-1.
Injuries and suspensions
Heading into this game, City fared worse from the recent international break with Erling Haaland a doubt although he did return to training at the end of the week. “He trained with niggles yesterday, hopefully he can train today and we will see. We have a few problems, the same as many clubs. We will see in the training session and we will see tomorrow,” the City boss explained on Friday.
Goalkeeper Ederson is also back training after picking up a foot injury while on duty with Brazil. John Stones, Kevin De Bruyne and Mateo Kovacic remain sidelined.
Liverpool’s form dipped just before the break but at least all of Klopp’s internationals returned fit and healthy. Long-term casualties Andy Robertson, Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic remain out while Alexis Mac Allister is available after serving a ban.