Jurgen Klopp has joked he hopes rival Pep Guardiola ‘takes a sabbatical’ upon the expiry of his Manchester City contract.
Guardiola’s current deal at the Etihad Stadium expires next summer, with the Catalan coach giving little indication thus far of whether he intends to extend his stay.
Speaking ahead of Liverpool and City’s clash at Anfield on Sunday, Klopp praised his opposite number but admitted he would prefer for their legendary rivalry to be over sooner rather than later.
Asked about Guardiola’s future at City, Klopp said: “I didn’t know that. I would prefer Pep to do a sabbatical for four years.
“Actually, my preferred solution would be that he had a sabbatical for the last four years. Honestly, that is a joke. But he is the best manager in the world. He is proving it all the time. Every day. It is special what they are doing and I respect that.
“I could always see and admit brilliance when I saw it, and in this instance it is the case.”
Despite his praise for Guardiola, Klopp insisted he was not romantic about the pair’s rivalry and would be happy for it to end in the near future.
“No (I will not miss the rivalry),” said Klopp.
“He told me that when we are not in charge of any club anymore we can sit together and have a glass of wine. I am not a big wine drinker but if we could do that while I am working and he is off I would wish it. We could have that talk no problem.”
When questioned on the challenges of trying to keep up with Man City, Klopp replied: “Yes, but it is fine. I am a very happy person.
“Let me say, I am not Federer and Pep is not Nadal. They compete at the highest level and are best friends. Pep and I are not friends because we do not know each other. But I respect him a lot and I know he respects what we are doing. For rivalry we do not need to be disrespectful. Around the games we have a good relationship without talking. During the games we are competitors.”
Liverpool host City this weekend looking to shake off their malaise and kickstart their Premier League season, having won just twice so far. City, meanwhile, will look to extend their unbeaten start to the campaign.