Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has promised incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola that he won’t have it all his own way next season in England.
The current Bayern Munich boss enjoyed a rivalry with Klopp in Germany when our coach led Borussia Dortmund, and the pair know each other well as a result.
Guardiola, set to win his third Bundesliga title in three seasons, is leaving the Allianz Arena in order to crack the Premier League – and has decided to do so at the Etihad – taking over from Manuel Pellegrini in the summer.
“We plan to avoid that!” Klopp said when asked about whether Manchester City will be successful with the Spaniard at the helm.
“Manchester City is a club with not too bad possibilities on the financial side, shall we say, and Pep Guardiola is a really smart person. He won’t have chosen Man City because of his friendship with a few people there.
“They won’t have the worst team in the world next year but I love football because that doesn’t mean everything. As we have shown once or twice, you can beat these teams. That’s for sure. Pep was a world class player but he won’t be on the pitch.
“We will see what happens but I cannot be interested in this now like everyone else is. I will see him for the first time maybe in July or August, that’s a long time from now. We will have time enough to speak.
“He will enjoy the league because it is a great league and a real competition and he is a real competitor. That is what he wants.
“But I don’t think that it will be the same situation as he had in Spain, with Barcelona on the top level, or in Germany with Bayern on the top level. Of course Man City has good possibilities but we will try to beat them.”
Klopp makes a good point. In Spain, Guardiola only really had to compete with Real Madrid – and he was lucky enough to have Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta among others on his roster.
In Germany, Bayern simply buy players from their nearest rivals (Gotze, Lewandowski), so it’s no surprise they win the league at such a canter every campaign.
In England though there could be a number of sides with realistic title ambitions in 2016/17. Arsenal, a potentially revived Chelsea, Manchester United and hopefully ourselves will aim high – not to mention Tottenham and high flying Leicester!
Manchester City have the best squad in the country, but hopefully Klopp can bring ours closer to theirs during the summer – and take on his former rival with the advantage of a year’s extra Premier League experience.