Pep Guardiola sparks up new row with Jurgen Klopp

‘I didn’t think Jurgen was that kind of manager, look at the calendar again’: Pep Guardiola sparks up new row with Liverpool boss after Klopp hinted ‘two-week’ Covid break helped Man City soar past them

  • Jurgen Klopp claimed Manchester City enjoyed two weeks off around Christmas
  • City had a match against Everton postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak
  • But Guardiola sternly struck back in his pre-match press conference on Friday
  • Liverpool host City in a blockbuster Premier League game on Sunday afternoon

Pep Guardiola expressed surprise at Jurgen Klopp’s claim that Manchester City had a mid-season break of a fortnight.

The Liverpool manager made the remark while discussing his team’s drop-off in form after consecutive home defeats has seen them fall seven points behind the leaders.

Klopp said that they had ‘not had a break’ while adding that ‘City had two weeks off for Covid reasons’. Guardiola appeared agitated that the topic had been brought up by a rival on the eve of their trip to Anfield and suggested that mind-games were at play.

Pep Guardiola has ignited a fresh row with Jurgen Klopp about their respective schedules

Guardiola (L) responded sternly to Klopp’s (R) claim that Manchester City had two weeks off

Dec 22 – W 4-1 vs Arsenal (LC) – 3 days off 

Dec 26 – W 2-0 vs Newcastle – 7 days off

Jan 3 – W 3-1 vs Chelsea – 2 days off

Jan 6 – W 2-0 vs Man Utd (LC) – 3 days off

Jan 10 – W 3-0 vs Birmingham  

‘When I see Jurgen I will tell him how many weeks we were off,’ Guardiola said. 

‘I’m surprised. I didn’t think Jurgen was that type of manager. 

‘Jurgen has to see the calendar again.

‘He knows it’s not true, come on. Sometimes people do it for the purpose… I did not think he was that type of guy. 

‘Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it was a misunderstanding.’

The Premier League’s decision to postpone City’s trip to Everton on December 28 just four hours before kick-off caused uproar.  

City were back in training two days later with a heavily depleted squad.

Guardiola’s side, who have competed in more matches than Liverpool since their Covid outbreak, won at Chelsea on January 3 without seven first-team regulars, some missing with injuries.  

They have won the following nine matches in all competitions. 

Guardiola said on Friday: ‘I’m surprised – I didn’t think Jurgen was that type of manager’

The Catalan sarcastically made reference to City enjoying ‘two months off’, which appeared a thinly-veiled remark on their lack of a pre-season.

‘They have forgotten [about City’s short pre-season]. We haven’t forgotten,’ he added. 

‘If Jurgen sees the calendar he will see it was not two weeks, it was two months.

City and Liverpool have clashed in the past both off and on the pitch (pic Joe Gomez and Raheem Sterling in 2019)

‘He made a mistake – it was two months, three months, four months That’s why we’re in top four now.’

City go into the clash at Anfield – where they have not won since 2003 – top-of-the-table and are seven points ahead of the champions with a game in hand. 

The reverse game at the Etihad in November ended in a 1-1 draw, with Gabriel Jesus’ goal cancelling out Mo Salah’s penalty in a game memorable for Kevin De Bruyne’s missed spot-kick. 

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