Pep Guardiola vs Jürgen Klopp: Who Will Win in 2019/20?

Photo by football.ua, CC BY-SA 3.0

The 2018/19 Premier League season was one that won’t be forgotten for a long time, with its very close finish and a record points tally for first and second place. Although Manchester City were the ones that came out on top, in any other season Liverpool would have scored enough points to have won the Premier League by a country mile.

Some line up changes have taken place during the transfer window, although the Liverpool team sheet looks almost completely untouched. Manchester City on the other hand, have acquired 5 new players, including Joao Cancelo from Juventus for £60 million and Rodri from Atletico Madrid for £68.2 million.

Whilst the odds of each team to win the Premier League will change as the season progresses, Manchester City and Liverpool F.C remain the two favourites to win the Premier League in 2019/20 based on team line ups and recent performance.

This means that the managers of these two titans will be again in the spotlight as all of their decisions are scrutinised, criticised and celebrated as they each hope to guide their team to victory.

Here is a look at the Guardiola vs Klopp Rivalry and what to expect from each.

Jurgen Klopp

Photo by Mehdi Bolourian, CC BY 4.0

Jurgen Klopp is a German national, with his first management role being for Mainz between 2001 and 2008. He then moved to Borussia Dortmund, which he led to victory in the Bundesliga in 2010-11 and 2011-12, the DFB-Pokal in 2013-14 and 2014-15, the DFL-Supercup in 2013 and 2014, and second place in the UEFA Champions League in 2012-13. He then moved to Liverpool in 2015, which had had an unsuccessful run of managers since Rafa Benitez left in 2010.

After spending a few years to build the foundations of his own team, Klopp came painfully close to leading Liverpool to their first title in three decades in the 2018-19 season. Despite the defeat, he secured the Champions League and the Super Cup as a consolation. Liverpool fans are expecting more of the same in 2019-20.

As he knows that the margin between victory and failure are wafer thin, Klopp has resorted to using some unconventional methods in an attempt to gain an advantage in the new season. He invited one of the world’s best professional, big wave surfers, Sebastian Steudtner, to meet with the team ahead of the start of the season. During this meeting, Steudtner shared the mindset he uses to approach the sport of surfing and how to use that approach to improve performance. In particular, he highlighted the importance of paying attention to detail and that there are consequences attached to failures.

Klopp has recently hinted that he may retire in 2022 when his contract with Liverpool comes to an end. This puts a deadline on his need to secure a league win for the reds quickly, with just 2 more seasons to do it. This may, or may not be helpful to the psychology of both Klopp and his team.

Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola has been a football manager for shorter time than Klopp, yet he has managed the same number of teams, working for no one than 4 years in each role. He has a track record of joining a team, helping them to win multiple trophies and then moving on. Having been in post at Manchester City in 2016, it is likely he may be eyeing up his next move and hope to take advantage of his success with the club as his initial 3 year contract comes to an end.

Even though he doesn’t have the most extensive management experience, he has been able to deliver a string of silverware to his clubs. For example, during his stint with Barcelona Guardiola became the youngest manager to lead a team to Champions League victory, after they beat Manchester United 2-0 in his first season as manager.

Guardiola can feel confident that his team was strong enough to win last season, but he must also be wary that their tiny margin can be very quickly lost. Whilst Klopp has nothing to lose and everything to gain, Guardiola has the opposite. This will be a psychological hurdle that he must overcome.

Not to be out done by Klopp, Guardiola has attempted to gain an advantage over the other teams by cancelling a training trip to Spain. The planned trip would’ve occurred when temperatures in Barcelona were at their highest. However, he opted to give his players a much-needed rest following their pre-season tour of Asia – especially since some of those players had competed in the UEA National League, the Africa Cup of Nations and the Copa America. By doing this, Guardiola has said he wants to achieve a Premier League hat-trick.

Overall there is little between the two managers., they have similar managing styles and both prefer the same player formations. They are both under pressure to win in 2019-20, but arguably the pressure rests more on Guardiola since he has to defend a winning streak. Klopp’s Liverpool F.C have, on the other hand, become quite accustomed to a lack of league titles. Only time will tell, but at the moment the two managers, like their teams, are neck and neck.