A week after a spectacular chase in the Premier League with four goals divided equally between the two teams, Man City and Liverpool reunited at Wembley, in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
Man City and Liverpool can meet again on May 28 in Paris in the Champions League final, if they both overcome Spanish rivals in the semi-finals (Real Madrid and Villarreal). Two teams on the same journey of the dream of eating 3.
All of these matches are not only a showdown between Man and Liverpool, but also a show of wits between their two charismatic coaches, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp – who are considered two good strategists. Premier League right now.
These confrontations remind us somewhat of what happened more than a decade ago in Spain, when Jose Mourinho took charge of Real Madrid and tried to end Barca’s glorious era with Guardiola.
In such confrontations, Pep is fed up with Mourinho’s provocative actions. He once said when the two met in the Champions League, when Barca won 2-0 at the Bernabeu in 2011: “We will face him on the pitch. Also, Jose always wins. I can’t argue with him“.
The tone between Guardiola and Klopp is completely different. “Liverpool are the strongest team I have faced in my years as a professional“, praised Pep.
“I can say the same about Man City“, replied Jurgen Klopp pompously.
In the world Guardiola – Klopp
If for Mourinho, the best attack is always a good defense, then Guardiola and Klopp represent the opposite: the best way to defend is to attack.
If Mourinho gave up the ball to try to take advantage of a careless opponent and score the winning goal, then Guardiola and Klopp relied on their football to exert maximum pressure on their opponents, with the aim of getting the ball as fast as possible. as close to the opponent’s goal as possible.
Or, both always tend to prevent the opponent from being able to move freely to have time to organize the defense in their own way when losing the ball.
Of course, there are also differences between them. Pep is more energetic, seeking more control.
During his time at Barca, he used the so-called six-second rule: attacking players must exert maximum pressure on the opposing defense as soon as they lose the ball, but if that intensity does not bear fruit for six seconds, they have to relieve the pressure and save their fitness.
In the opposite direction, the defense when recovering the ball must make 3 passes before joining the attack. The important thing is not to get to the opposition goal as soon as possible (there are obviously exceptions, when Pep doesn’t always give up on quick counter attacks), but to control the game. .
Klopp, who is even so extreme as to obsess over the pressure to recover the ball, is less concerned with possession. He is an extremely passionate coach, always looking to overwhelm his opponents.
Therefore, Klopp needs to instill in his players that passion. “My job is to explain to the players that the most important game in their lives is the next one“, he once said.
Perhaps that is why the Covid-19 pandemic has been especially difficult for Klopp: “It’s hard to compete in an empty stadium. I am an emotional coach, we have an emotional team, we are in an emotional club. We need more than that“.
But that hasn’t stopped Klopp from turning to neuroscientific techniques to improve players’ composure and focus on free kicks and basic shots. At his request, Liverpool have their own throw-in coach.
Guardiola has always coached big teams with big budgets (Barcelona, Bayern, Man City). Klopp began his career at Mainz, where he led the club to promotion to the Bundesliga, continuing to show himself at Borussia Dortmund before moving to Liverpool.
Pep has more money to build his teams to win 9 national championships, 5 national cups and 2 Champions Leagues. Meanwhile, Klopp has 3 national championships, 1 national cup and 1 Champions League (excluding other awards).
The whole world is waiting for the 24th match between Guardiola and Klopp to break the balance between them: 9 wins each and 5 draws.