Jurgen Klopp has admitted he was shocked to learn the Capital One Cup semi-final is a two-legged fixture, and the Liverpool boss has sent a warning to Pep Guardiola ahead of his speculated move to the Premier League.
The German is clearly still getting to grips with the English football calendar. Almost a week after his side clinched a 1-0 win at Stoke City in the first leg of their League Cup semi, Klopp confessed he didn't initially know the tie required 180 minutes of football, per the Mirror's David Anderson:
The number of games is the biggest difference. When I came here, I didn’t know there were two rounds in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup. I had people in Germany, saying after we beat Stoke, ‘yeah, you’re in the final again!’ Idiots!
In Germany, when you tell people about the FA Cup that if you draw you play again. They say ‘what?’ Here you have penalties and extra time, but only after the second game.
The Bundesliga is currently enjoying its winter break, and in his first season as a Premier League manager, Klopp is quickly discovering just how different English football is in contrast to his native Germany.
The Reds drew 2-2 at League Two outfit Exeter City on Friday evening and were forced into a replay on January 20.
After that disappointment, Klopp described his reaction toward having another fixture loaded onto his schedule:
The DFB-Pokal would be considered the closest equivalent to the Capital One Cup in German football, which has a one-legged semi-final.
Klopp won that tournament with former club Borussia Dortmund in 2012 and finished as runner-up to Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
Liverpool played a total of seven games in December, and the Reds manager went on to give outgoing Bayern boss Guardiola some friendly advice amid rumours he'll be joining the English management ranks:
That’s the thing, it’s the number of games, football, football, football. With a perfect pre-season you are prepared for a long, long journey.
We knew about it, but to feel it is different. Pep is so experienced, for sure. I’m sure he will buy a few players and have a good team, have 35 players or whatever.
Klopp's comments regarding the amount of players Guardiola is likely to have could be interpreted as a reference toward Manchester City's spending power and the squad he's likely to build if he comes to the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola has been strongly linked with a move to City when his contract at the Allianz Arena expires this summer. The Daily Mail's Martin Samuel wrote that the rest of the Premier League should be scared if that appointment does come to fruition.
Perhaps Guardiola will be more readily aware of the fixture list that awaits him in England if he does make the transition, and Paul Little of the Irish Daily Star felt little sympathy for the unprepared Klopp:
Paul Little @little_football
Klopp's fixture thing is a little tired. If he didn't realise that the League Cup semi is two legs & the FA Cup has replays - then he shudve1/10/2016, 11:56:46 PM
It is somewhat surprising to hear that a manager as revered as Klopp didn't have the League Cup schedule properly imprinted in his plans, but one would think a mind as meticulous as Guardiola's won't make the same mistake.
Mark Hughes' Stoke City have the chance to disappoint Klopp further when they travel to Anfield for the second leg of their League Cup semi-final on January 26 and turn around the 1-0 deficit.