Premier League: Klopp relishes Liverpool’s titanic clash with Man City

Jurgen Klopp says he would watch Liverpool take on Manchester City “wherever I am on the planet” as he prepares his team for Saturday’s eagerly anticipated Premier League summit meeting.

Dominant City has won the title in five of the past six seasons, with Liverpool the only team to break that run in 2020.

Since Pep Guardiola’s arrival as City boss in 2016, the two sides have played 14 league matches, with City winning five and Liverpool triumphing four times.

This season, Guardiola’s treble winners lead the way again, on 28 points after 12 games, with Liverpool a single point behind, setting the stage for a titanic showdown at the Etihad Stadium.

“It is not a test (on) how close can we get to City, it is just a really super-exciting football game,” Liverpool boss Klopp told reporters on Friday.

“I would watch wherever I am on the planet because why wouldn’t you watch this game? It’s like everything there you need.

“But for us it is not about that kind of excitement. We have to prepare for it properly and we know we have to be at our best to get a chance. If we have that then it is up to us to take it.”

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Klopp was asked whether Liverpool versus City was now the biggest game in the Premier League, even eclipsing their longstanding rivalry with Manchester United.

“The rivalry I don’t know, you’ll have to ask other people,” said the German.

“For us, from a sports point of view, it’s one of the (most) difficult games you can play for many years, since I’ve been here probably.

“But for a rivalry you need longer and the fans decide that. From a football point of view we needed some time to become a rival on the pitch… from a football point of view, definitely yes.”

‘Best rivals’

Guardiola, speaking at his own briefing, said the teams knew each other well after battling for so many years at the top of the league.

“Of course, time goes forward. Jurgen has been at Liverpool for eight years and of course it’s not the same players since the start,” he said.

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“He has rebuilt the team, but the idea is quite similar and they have always been our best rivals.”

Guardiola was asked whether the game now equalled the stature of the Barcelona versus Real Madrid fixture in Spain, dubbed the Clasico.

“I think it’s different. Man City was never in the past 20, 30, 40 years, was not a contender like Liverpool but in the last decade, since I’ve been here, we’ve (each) been our best rivals,” he said.

“I’ve said many times, he made me a better manager through his teams.”

The City boss said top-scorer Erling Haaland, one short of the 50-goal mark since arriving in the Premier League, has trained “with some niggles” in the run-up to the game.

The Norwegian striker picked up a knock during his nation’s friendly victory over Faroe Islands last week and sat out the 3-3 draw with Scotland on Sunday.

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