Liverpool Boss Jurgen Klopp: Pep Guardiola and I Have 'Respectful Relationship'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: Jurgen Klopp manager / head coach of Liverpool and Pep Guardiola the head coach / manager of Manchester City discuss during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool at Etihad Stadium on September 9, 2017 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said he and Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola share a "respectful relationship" despite Klopp's recent back-and-forth with Guardiola over City's spending.

In an interview with Goal's Neil Jones published on Saturday, Klopp revealed he talked to Guardiola on the phone in the dressing room after the Reds won the UEFA Champions League final against Tottenham Hotspur on June 1.

The Liverpool manager was handed the phone by physio Lee Nobes, who moved to Anfield from the Etihad Stadium in November:

"There was just a lot of respect. I don't know who called who, but Lee obviously worked with him at City. It was nice, a nice moment. 

"We talked about what a great season it was, we had a few jokes. We were both obviously in a good mood!"

Klopp said that he has little time for bitter managerial rivalries and sees no need for "this very negative kind of emotion" on the touchline, a viewpoint he believes Guardiola shares. He added:

"Of course it's different in the games, because we are both very competitive. At that point, I am not too concerned with how our relationship can improve! For 90 minutes, my focus is somewhere else.

"But it's a very respectful relationship. We don't have contact all of the time, apart from when we play each other⁠—or if he calls our physio in the dressing room and I can get the phone! Apart from that, it's all good."

However, the coach recently angered the Catalan boss when he suggested City live in "fantasia land" and can splash out big money in the transfer market "constantly," per Sky Sports' Zinny Boswell.

Speaking ahead of City's clash with Liverpool in the FA Community Shield on Sunday, Guardiola disputed Klopp's comments:

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

🗣️ "He has bothered me because he is wrong!" Pep Guardiola has hit back at Jurgen Klopp ahead of the Community Shield on Sunday

The City manager otherwise had plenty of praise for his counterpart, though:

Goal @goal

Guardiola on Klopp: "He's an incredible manager. His messages are always positive. Sometimes there are exceptions. But most of the time... it's good." 😬 https://t.co/rEF9mgAdMA

The Citizens and the Reds have increasingly become rivals in recent years.

Liverpool knocked City out of the UEFA Champions League at the quarter-final stage on their way to the final in the 2017-18 season. Before the first leg of that tie, Reds supporters damaged their opponents' team bus by throwing bottles, cans and fireworks at it.

In the last campaign, the Reds were the only challengers to Guardiola's outfit in the Premier League. They took the title race to the final day, with City finishing the season with 98 points to Liverpool's 97.

Their dispute over the Manchester club's spending aside, it seems there is no animosity between the two coaches. Whatever the result on Sunday, that will likely be clear on the sidelines.