Jurgen Klopp laughs riotously when it’s mentioned that Pep Guardiola seems obsessed with Liverpool, before diplomatically avoiding an answer.
Yet the mirth shows his heightened, almost joyous mood when it comes to facing Manchester City, in part because he relishes encounters with a coach he regards as the best in world football.
In his way, Klopp is equally obsessed with his rival manager. That is because he admires so much Guardiola’s belief in his own philosophy, and his commitment to playing a what for him, is the right brand of football…the only brand of football.
“He's obsessed?! I didn't watch the documentary so I don't know what you are talking about. But in this case, City do what they always do and it is that good they do it always because if it wasn't that good they would change it from time to time,” Klopp said with a smile.
He genuinely enjoys facing City – even though his record against them is not as convincing as when facing most other teams, with three wins and three losses, plus two draws in the Premier League against his biggest rivals.
It is easy to see why. He admires Guardiola massively. “The challenge with City is always the way they play with the players they have. So that makes it really tricky.
“If you think about it, all the challenges in the game – what you have to be aware of and think about and what you have to do – it is City because they have a good plan, a clear plan and in each position a player who has the physicality and the technique to make a difference,” he explained.
"They play a specific way, they are pretty dominant, but if they have to counter attack they are pretty strong so they have speed and creativity and that is not so cool when the other team has that and make it pretty tricky.
"That makes it a challenge in the preparation but interesting as well because you don't play a lot of games against a team with such a high quality like City in specific areas where they play and all this kind of thing.”
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It's been an extremely interesting start to the season for Jurgen Klopp's men.
They got their title defence off to a shaky start as they edged out a seven-goal thriller against Leeds, before going on to conceded seven in a hammering by Aston Villa.
Virgil van Dijk's season was ended by injury in the 2-2 draw at Everton, leaving the title favourites looking far less secure at the back – especially with Alisson's injury worries too.
But there's no slowing down in what is going to be a busy campaign – with Klopp ensuring his men continue at full pace as they bid for more title glory.
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His sentence though, predicting that City will do against Liverpool what they always do, offers an insight into his own tactical thinking, in a contest that could again prove pivotal in the title race.
He left Roberto Firmino out of the side which won so magnificently against Atalanta in midweek, and quite possibly leave out a player in Diogo Jota who scored a hat trick in Italy.
Firmino has struggled in front of goal over the past year, but Klopp still refuses to accept much of the criticism aimed at his Brazilian striker.
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“For those who are with us, I don't have to say one word about Bobby Firmino and how important he was for us, I don't waste time with that.
“Who is not with us I don't care if they know about it to be honest. He was the difference maker in so many games, so I would feel really embarrassed if I had to mention now the qualities of Bobby Firmino.
“I can't help these people, sorry. If they don't see it I cannot help them.”
Firmino is certain to return, and Joel Matip will play too, while James Milner could be a surprise inclusion against his former club.
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