Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp snapped at a reporter for taking comments made by Pep Guardiola earlier this week too literally and labelled his Manchester City counterpart ‘the best coach in the world’.
The rival Premier League managers – whose teams are separated by just a single point at the top of the table – go head-to-head at the Etihad on Sunday in a titanic battle that will have a massive influence on the destination of the title.
Both sides played Champions League quarter-final matches in the build-up, with City claiming a narrow first-leg lead at home to Atletico Madrid and Liverpool winning impressively away at Benfica.
In the build-up to the Atletico clash, Guardiola joked that he might ‘overthink’ his tactics ahead of the match – something he has been accused of doing in Champions League knockout matches in the past – and those remarks were put to Klopp at his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Asked about Guardiola’s comments, and whether it is easy to overthink a game such as the upcoming clash between Liverpool and City, Klopp started to shake his head in disbelief, feeling the quotes had been taken too literally, and replied: ‘It was ironic. Did you never realise?
‘I heard this week in Ecuador people made a story out of me saying I didn’t understand Luis Diaz. We have really a responsibility on this planet. If you want to talk to us [managers] then do me a favour and help us [with the context].
‘He said ironically “I overthink things” or “I like overthinking things”. Pep is the best coach in the world, I think we all would agree on that.
‘And it might be a coincidence that it didn’t work out so far in the Champions League or whatever, but the things he won, the football he plays – if anybody doubts him then I have no idea how that could happen.
‘No, we all think a lot, that’s the reason why we sometimes make mistakes and sometimes we find out the right things to do.
‘But in football you know all that just exactly after the game and not before, and that’s why we try to imagine what could happen, what could help, what could we do which makes us more independent of the opponent and all these kinds of things.
‘But it’s true in the end there must be a stop with the information because then the boys need to play and if I couldn’t help them enough during the week – or during the time we are already together – it would be a bit of a shame.
‘So hopefully it means we are now long enough together and did often enough the right stuff that we are ready to play the best possible game against City. That would be the target.’