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Liverpool have an advantage over Pep Guardiola and Man City that Jürgen Klopp will soon be able to exploit again



Liverpool have an advantage over Pep Guardiola and Man City that Jürgen Klopp will soon be able to exploit again

Pep Guardiola has a relatively poor record against Jürgen Klopp and this seems to have influenced his tendency to overthink when Manchester City take on Liverpool.

Throughout his decades-long managerial career, Pep Guardiola has dominated his opponents. Thanks to a mix of streamlined tactics, expert man management and elite players at his disposal, the Spanish manager has won virtually everything in the sport, with his teammates often struggling to compete against him.

Few manage to beat Guardiola, but on Saturday afternoon he will face the only manager who goes against the tide: Jürgen Klopp. The Liverpool manager has faced him more than anyone as the pair have clashed 27 times before this weekend’s match, and his record against him makes clear his status as an outlier. Klopp is the only manager to have won more than lost against Guardiola based on those who have faced him at least eight times in all competitions. Moreover, the German is also the only man in double figures when it comes to wins against the master tactician, with 12 wins over second-best Jose Mourinho, who has beaten him seven times.

The Manchester City boss is averaging just 1.3 points per game against Klopp, again his worst average based on those who have faced him at least eight times in all competitions, with established names such as Mourinho, Mauricio Pochettino, Arsène Wenger, Thomas Tuchel and Unai Emery could not deliver so much success.

In many ways, Klopp is essentially Guardiola’s Kryptonite as he seems to have the qualities to rob the Etihad manager of his overall power on the football pitch. The former adds chaos to proceedings, while the latter wants full control at all times. As a result of his peculiar record against his counterpart, Guardiola has shown a tendency in recent seasons to think almost too much before facing his nemesis. He has previously described Anfield as ‘no other stadium in the world’ and when it comes to the Reds he once said: ‘When I retire and play golf I will remember that the biggest rivalry was with Liverpool’.

The two-time Champions League winner recently spoke lyrically about Klopp’s men. “Fighting them is one of the greatest achievements of my career. They are outstanding,” he said last year. “Liverpool are the toughest opponents I’ve ever faced in my 12-13 years as manager.”

In fact, Guardiola used a whole range of different ideas in his attempts to defeat his rival on the touchline. The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has tried everything from asymmetric formations and poor positions to complex attacking forms.

Earlier this season he tried one of his riskiest tricks, adopting an audacious 3-2-4-1 formation to visit Anfield. Phil Foden and João Cancelo were used as full-backs, although both players were very attacking. It was no big surprise that it didn’t work out, and after 90 minutes of contention the Reds won 1-0. Guardiola’s tendency to come up with elaborate tactical plans has become widely known. When his side face a bottom side in the Premier League, they usually line up normally, but before heavyweight matches, the Manchester City boss seems inclined to come up with strategies that seem almost too complicated for his players to figure out. , leading to their disappearance.

This weekend it remains to be seen what he will come up with to face Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium, although Klopp hopes his hoodoo on Guardiola will continue.