Pep Guardiola on Jurgen Klopp exit: I will sleep better before we play Liverpool

Manchester City manager hails old rival who will be leaving English football at end of season

Jurgen Klopp announces he will leave Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp announces he will leave Liverpool
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted he will miss old rival Jurgen Klopp when the German coach leaves Liverpool at the end of the season.

Klopp surprised the football world on Friday when he announced that he would be quitting the Merseyside club, stating that he was “running out of energy” after nine years in charge.

Liverpool and Manchester City have become major rivals over recent seasons as the two teams swept up major trophies, both at home and abroad.

Guardiola and Klopp were also managers of the best two teams in the Bundesliga when they were in charge of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, respectively.

And, speaking after Manchester defeated Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in the FA Cup on Friday night, Gaurdiola revealed his surprise at hearing the news that his old sparring partner had called time on his Liverpool career.

“I am a little bit [shocked],” said the Spaniard. “He’s an absolutely incredible manager and I know I don’t know him closely but he’s an incredible person as well.

“I had a feeling that he’s leaving part of us too at Man City as Liverpool have been our biggest rival in his years. Personally, he has been my biggest rival from when he was at Dortmund and I was at Bayern Munich

“He will be missed, personally I will miss. I am pleased because without him I will sleep a little bit better the night before we play against Liverpool! But I wish him all the best. He doesn’t admit it but he will be back.

“All the managers will [feel tired] when you’ve done many years, I feel it completely. I felt it at Barcelona so I understand it completely.”

City stayed on course for glory in three competitions when Nathan Ake's 88th-minute goal earned Guardiola's men an FA Cup fourth-round win against Spurs – their first win at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in six attempts.

It was a thoroughly deserved victory for City who dominated throughout, registering 18 attempts on goal to Spurs one, with five on target to the home's side's one.

“From the statistics and the way we played I was really pleased,” said Guardiola. “Today we performed incredibly well. Everything [pleased me], from minute one to 95 minute. We are trying to defend the title and coming here is difficult.

“We create a lot in every game and have courage with or without the ball so I’m really pleased.”

While City still have their eyes on a second successive treble, Klopp's side are in the running for a quadruple after securing their place in the League Cup final following their 3-2 aggregate victory over Fulham on Wednesday night.

And their departing manager is aiming to finish his time at the club on a remarkable high. “I am here and I am fully here,” said the 56-year-old. “Until the end of the season, we have so much to do – I am fully in that.

“I want to win everything this season, but it wouldn't change my mind. And if we don't win anything it wouldn't change my mind.

“I have no regrets but a lot of special memories. The best memories in my mind are still to come.”

Klopp has won the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup, the League Cup, the Fifa Club World Cup and the Uefa Super Cup since moving to England.

But the man who led Liverpool to their first English top-flight title in 30 years and first Eusopean Cup since 2005 remains “convinced” that the time is right to bow out.

“With all the responsibility you have in this job, you have to be top of your game,” Klopp said.

“I've been doing this 24 years now. When you have the career I had it's almost impossible to start where I did and arrive at Liverpool.

“I always invested everything I had. I realised my resources are not endless and I prefer to pack everything into this season and then have a break or stop or whatever. We're not young rabbits any more and we don't jump as high as we did.

“I still think it's the right thing to do. I don't take these things lightly. I'm convinced it's right. I have no regrets but a lot of special memories.”

Updated: January 27, 2024, 9:09 AM