Marina Isidro

​Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola get along well.

Silence.

And then you ask yourself: so what? But believe me, this is a subject here in England when discussing the rivalry between Liverpool and Manchester City, and it gives a sense of how much the work and attitude of the two coaches are analyzed in detail on and off the pitch.

There are people who think that the good relationship between Klopp and Guardiola makes the confrontation too friendly. They’re not friends, they don’t call each other or go out to dinner — and they’ve already admitted that. But they praise each other publicly, hug each other after matches, respect each other and have a lot in common: they are two of the greatest coaches of all time in charge of extraordinary and winning teams. “Oh, Manchester United against Arsenal, Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger, that, yes, it was rivalry…”

Any interview with one of them that deviates a little from the norm and can be seen as provocation also becomes news. On Sunday, Guardiola said: “Everyone in this country is rooting for Liverpool… They have an incredible history in European competitions.” , but not in the Premier League, because they won once in 30 years.”

With two games to go in the season, taking City’s fourth Premier League trophy in five years is not impossible, but it seems unlikely. Guardiola’s team is three points ahead of their rivals and with seven more goals to go, they are still in control of the table and running over opponents. They haven’t lost in ten matches and, in the last four, they have beaten Watford 5-1, Leeds 4-0, Newcastle 5-0 and Wolverhampton 5-1. Imagine how much the account can increase when the Norwegian Erling Haaland sets foot in Manchester .

Liverpool haven’t lost in the Premier League since December, but it’s not easy to maintain a near-perfect performance to overtake a team at City’s level while competing in other competitions. Winning the Premier League takes consistency, and the margin for error is minimal. In 36 matches City have won 28, drawn five and lost three. Liverpool have 26 wins, eight draws and only two defeats. A small stumble, the 1-1 with Tottenham last week, could have cost the Reds the title.

Lifting the cup is up to City, but if the scenario changes and Liverpool take the lead in this final stretch, Klopp’s team could win the so-called “quadruple crown”, which also includes the League Cup -won in February- , the FA Cup, whose final against Chelsea is this Saturday (14th), and the Champions League, if they defeat Real Madrid in the decision on the 28th. An English team has never won all four titles in the same season.

The end of the Premier League will also be exciting for other reasons, of course. There is the dispute between Arsenal and Tottenham for fourth place and, consequently, for the spot in the Champions, and what will happen with the crisis at Manchester United.

But the history between Guardiola and Klopp fascinates, shows that opponents don’t have to be enemies. The Spaniard recently said that the German is the biggest rival he has ever had in his coaching career, and that Klopp makes him better. There is a feeling that one makes the other stronger. Who also wins is football.


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