Both will have been dreaming of Premier League glory at the start of the season. But Manchester City and Liverpool have since fallen out of the title race and are now focused entirely on a top four finish.
That’s not a target City boss Pep Guardiola is used to setting, while such a finish would be a further step forward for Jurgen Klopp at Anfield. And Sunday’s clash between the two Premier League giants could go a long way towards deciding who’ll claim one of those Champions League spots come May.
But we’re putting the match preview to one side and taking a look at the opposing managers today.
They’ve met on nine previous occasions, but who has come out on top most?
It may come as a surprise to you to learn that it’s the German coach who has the upper hand over his Spanish rival – with five wins to his name to Pep’s four.
And in those nine matches, the two sides have managed to net an impressive 23 goals combined, with Klopp’s teams slightly edging that battle too, with 12 goals to Guardiola’s 11.
Their first meeting in England ended with Liverpool getting the better of Man City in a 1-0 victory at Anfield, while their last meeting in Germany also ended with Klopp getting the better of Pep.
Winning on penalties in the 2014-15 German Super Cup semi-final against Bayern Munich, Klopp left Borussia Dortmund shortly after.
But despite boasting the psychological advantage heading into this weekend’s clash, Klopp is yet to finish a season higher than a Pep Guardiola side in a division. And as things stand, it looks as though that run will continue for at least another campaign, with the Citizens currently one point ahead of the Reds with a game in hand.
Though certain aspects of Klopp and Guardiola’s approaches overlap, there are plenty of differences between their styles.
Pep is busy trying to turn his City side into a carbon copy of his world-beating Barcelona side, introducing the likes of John Stones, Ferdnandinho and Kevin de Bruyne into tiki-taka football.
Plenty of his game-plan focuses on getting men forward, exploiting the wings and allowing the front three to roam and find space in the final third.
Defensively though, they look incredibly weak, and it’s likely he’ll look to strengthen that area of the field in the summer.
And that’s something Klopp will be expected to do, too.
Between them, the two sides have netted a staggering 113 goals this season – that’s 16 more than the pair had at this stage last season.
But they’ve conceded a whopping 64 strikes combined, and it’s that statistic which worries fans.
It makes for an exciting clash on Sunday evening for the neutral though!
It’s a great rivalry, with the two managers having bags of respect for each other.
On Klopp, Guardiola once described him as the best attacking coach in world football, while the German has returned the compliments on many an occasion over the years.
The question is, who will come out on top in meeting number 10?
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