With Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola doing recon from the stands, Liverpool ran out 4-1 winners over Stoke City earlier in the week to leapfrog the Citizens and reclaim second place in the Premier League ahead of the showdown between the two sides on New Years Eve.
“It is [a big game]. It is for both,” said Reds boss Jurgen Klopp when asked about City visiting Anfield at the weekend. “I heard Pep Guardiola was in the stadium tonight; I am not sure he watched a lot of games in the last few weeks from the stadiums of the opponents, so that’s a first sign it’s a special game and we are already looking forward to it,” added the German manager with a wry smile. “They are an outstandingly good side and we are not too bad, so it will be a nice game.”
League leaders Chelsea have some breathing room at the top of the table, carrying a six-point advantage in to the New Year, but both Liverpool and Manchester City have kept up the pressure on the South-West London club and sit neck-and-neck going in to the meeting at Anfield on Saturday. These two manager sitting side by side in the table might be new to English football, but it had been a pretty common sight in the Bundesliga over the past couple years with Guardiola’s Bayern Munich and Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund at the pinnacle of the German game — a rivalry that’ll be resumed this weekend.
“Unusual, I don’t know,” mused the Reds boss when asked about his City counterpart checking out the Potters game. “I did it a lot in the past, but obviously it’s not too easy anymore because it’s more a signing hour than you can watch a game,” added Klopp. “Maybe he saw nothing. Hopefully we had no security and Pep had to write all the autographs!,” laughed the German manager. “The game is on December 31 and whatever I say tonight can’t win it. But maybe I could say a few things that would make it a bit more difficult for us to win it, so it’s probably best I shut my mouth!”