There’s no disputing that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola are two of the best managers the game has ever seen.
Since 2013, the two have gone head-to-head every year except for one – firstly as managers of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, and then in the Premier League as bosses of Liverpool and Manchester City.
The two have completely contrasting styles of play; Klopp‘s a relentless pressing game that is high octane, fast paced and in your face, Guardiola‘s a slower methodical tiki-taka brand of football that relies on exceptional skill, vision and craft.
What’s great about their philosophies is that when they clash, it’s usually a fantastic spectacle – with both managers enjoying their fair share of success. Here’s all the clashes between Klopp and Guardiola to date…
The first meeting between the two set an exceptionally high bar in terms of standard.
Marco Reus scored twice for Klopp and Dortmund before Ilkay Gundogan and a Daniel Van Buyten own goal cancelled out Arjen Robben’s double, handing Guardiola defeat in his first competitive game as Bayern boss.
After losing the Champions League final the previous season to Bayern, Dortmund also lost their superstar playmaker to the Bavarians in the summer.
Mario Gotze returned to Signal Iduna Park the following season under Guardiola and scored the opening goal after coming on as a substitute in a 3-0 win.
The reverse fixture in the league later that season saw Klopp’s side exact their revenge, with a 3-0 win of their own thanks to goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marco Reus and Jonas Hofmann.
The season started with a trophy on the line and it ended with the German Cup final. This time, though, Guardiola came out on top.
It took 107 minutes of action to break the deadlock before Robben tapped in from a Jerome Boateng cross, and Thomas Muller wrapped the win up in the 123rd minute for Guardiola’s second trophy in Germany.
The Super Cup saw Dortmund lift the trophy for the second year in a row against a weakened Bayern team, thanks to goals from Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in either half.
After his contract came to an end with Dortmund, Robert Lewandowski signed for Bayern Munich.
In his first game against his former club after the move, the Pole started up front as Guardiola’s side came from behind to win 2-1 – with Robben scoring a penalty to wrap up the points.
On his first return to Signal Iduna Park, Lewandowski proved to be the match winner.
A first half header was enough to give his new side the three points as Bayern strolled to another title, while Dortmund faltered to seventh place.
A few weeks later the sides met in the DFB Pokal semi-finals, but this time it was Klopp’s team who came out on top.
Lewandowski scored again, before Aubameyang equalised and the teams battled to a stalemate that led to a penalty shootout. It was awful, as Bayern missed all their spot-kicks and Dortmund went on to lose the final to Wolfsburg.
Congratulations to everyone involved.
The two went their seperate ways for 20 months before meeting again in the Premier League as managers of Liverpool and Manchester City respectively.
It was Klopp who came out on top in this meeting, thanks to a Gini Wijnaldum header.
The two met again at the Etihad Stadium a few months later and battled to a hard fought 1-1 draw, thanks to goals from Sergio Aguero and former City man James Milner.
A highly anticipated fixture between two teams expected to challenge for honours was spoilt early on after Sadio Mane was sent off for a high boot on goalkeeper Ederson.
Guardiola’s side controlled the game from then on and strolled to a dominant 5-0 win, thanks to a goal from Sergio Aguero and a brace each from Gabriel Jesus and Leroy Sane.
The Reds got their revenge later that season with a dominant win of their own at Anfield.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring before Leroy Sane equalised just before half-time. Then a goal from each of Liverpool famed front three in an eight minute second half spell sealed all three points, although late goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan made it a nervy ending.
A few months later the two sides clashed in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, and Klopp seemingly found the remedy for playing against Guardiola teams.
Goals from Mohamed Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sadio Mane inside the first half hour were enough to seal a thumping first leg win for Liverpool.
The second leg was all set up for fireworks and that’s exactly what we got.
Gabriel Jesus scored after just two minutes for Man City, before the Blues had a perfectly reasonable goal ruled out for a ‘foul’ on the goalkeeper.
Liverpool weathered the storm and goals from Salah and Firmino got them a second leg win at the Etihad as they went on to reach the final, where they lost to Real Madrid.
In what would turn out to be a record breaking season for Man City and Liverpool, the two sides cancelled each other out at Anfield in the Premier League in their first meeting.
Riyad Mahrez missed an injury time penalty as the points were shared.
In the game that ultimately won Manchester City at the title at the end of the season, this was one of the tensest ties in recent history between the two managers.
John Stones made a goal-line clearance at 0-0 that was literally millimetres away from being counted before Sergio Aguero opened the scoring. Firmino got an equaliser before Sane’s winner with 18 minutes remaining handed Guardiola a huge win.
A glorified friendly to open the season, but both teams wanted to win to get a mental edge over their rivals.
The game ended level after 90 minutes, with Joel Matip cancelling out Raheem Sterling’s opener before City won the penalty shootout thanks to Claudio Bravo’s save from Wijnaldum.
As Liverpool romped to the Premier League title, they showed no mercy against all opposition including Guardiola’s Man City side.
Fabinho scored a belter from outside the box before Salah and Mane headed Liverpool into a 3-0 lead. Bernardo Silva pulled one back but it was too late as the Reds moved eight points clear at the top.
Liverpool’s dominance was so great in this season that by the time they met Man City again, they were already champions.
City sought to make a statement against the new champions and did so with a 4-0 thrashing thanks to goals from Kevin De Bruyne, Sterling and a brace from Phil Foden.
Earlier this season the two sides met and it was a tale of two penalties that ultimately settled the game.
Salah opened the scoring from the spot after Kyle Walker fouled Mane, before Jesus equalised for the home side. De Bruyne’s cross hit Joe Gomez’s hand to give City a penalty too, but the Belgian put his spot kick wide and the points were shared.
When City beat Liverpool, they often go big – and that was the case again Jurgen Klopp’s injury depleted side were ripped limb from limb at Anfield.
The Reds had no defenders, pretty much, and Alisson Becker had a rare stinker in goal. Phil Foden also announced himself in a big way, scoring a sensational goal to put the gloss on a wonderful performance from team Pep.
By far and away the two best teams in the country, Liverpool and City served up another treat at Anfield as four goals were evenly shared.
Liverpool had their noses in front twice, thanks to Mane and Salah – the latter’s a superb goal with his weaker foot – but Pep’s City fought back on each occasion as Foden again netted on Merseyside before Kevin De Bruyne bagged a vital point.
With the Premier League title (kind of) on the line, City and Liverpool again contested a game of supreme quality – but for the second time during 2021/22 nothing could separate the two.
De Bruyne’s deflected effort gave City the lead before Diogo Jota pulled Liverpool level. Gabriel Jesus punished some slack defending to restore the lead but Mane once more got in the act, punishing some early second half sloppiness to make it honours even.
Less than a week later it was down to Wembley for an FA Cup semi-final in the sun – and the two teams didn’t disappoint again.
Liverpool were the ones to come flying out of the traps, and they took an early lead through Ibrahima Konate’s towering header. A moment of utter madness from Zack Steffen then allowed Mane to double the advantage, before the Senegalese made it three on the stroke of half-time – firing home a superb volley to bag his 10th goal against City.
Pep’s troops rallied in the second half but goals from Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva weren’t enough to quash Liverpool’s quadruple dreams.
Goals scored: 38
Biggest win: Bayern 0-3 Dortmund (2013), Liverpool 3-0 Man City (2018)
Goals scored: 39
Biggest win: Man City 5-0 Liverpool (2017), Man City 4-0 Liverpool (2020)