Ilkay Gundogan told Sky Sports that Pep Guardiola is the best manager he’s ever played for, but that he would ‘die’ for former Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp on the pitch, as reported by the Echo.
The German clarified that he felt his current coach was the greater tactician, suggesting that he had a more emotional bond with his ex-manager.
“The way he looks at all the details of the game is just incredible and he tries to transmit that on the pitch,” the 30-year-old said. “But then Klopp, Jurgen as a character is someone when you go on the pitch you are able to sacrifice everything for him, to give your all.”
“He has that power the way he talks to you, the way he speaks to you, to give you the right words going into a game,” Gundogan added. “So you just go onto the pitch and you’d die for him.”
Klopp prides himself on emotion, not just in the act of playing football but in a deep connection between player, manager, club, and fans; for the Liverpool boss, the game just isn’t the same without it.
It’s a mentality that’s served the 53-year-old immeasurably well across various spells in Germany and, now, England, with the coach having secured the Reds a first league title in 30 years.
While we don’t question the importance of emotion in the game, we wouldn’t want the German’s tactical prowess to be overlooked either.
Klopp’s beliefs have taken him far, but the feats he has pulled off at Liverpool would not have been possible without a sound tactical mind.
As brilliant a coach as Guardiola is, we have to wonder whether the Catalonian would have been able to transform a side floundering in the mid-table without the scale of financial backing he currently benefits from in Manchester.