Football

Juergen Klopp will bounce back: Pep Guardiola

Man City boss says he has sympathy for what Reds manager is going through

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola offered his support to Liverpool counterpart Juergen Klopp, after the Reds' downturn in form led to rumours the German could leave the English Premier League champions.

Klopp dismissed those claims on Monday and denied any suggestion he needs a break to recharge his batteries after 5½ years in charge at Anfield, during which he has restored Liverpool to their former glories.

English Premier League
EVERTON MANCHESTER CITY

Guardiola said he had "a lot" of sympathy for Klopp. "What he has produced in football is exceptional," said Guardiola.

"I said it many times, now, in the last season and the previous seasons when he was in Germany.

"His philosophy makes football entertaining for all spectators. He always wants to produce joy to the fans, to play attacking football.

"We all have good moments or bad moments. There is no club or manager than can sustain seasons and seasons of winning, winning, winning..."

Guardiola and Klopp have battled for supremacy for the majority of their time in England together, with City and Liverpool the EPL's two dominant sides for the past four seasons.

City look set for their third title in four years after pulling away at the top of the table.

If they beat Everton tomorrow morning (Singapore time), they will extend their lead over second-placed Manchester United to 10 points.

Liverpool have suffered three consecutive defeats to slip to sixth, but Guardiola sees similarities between their struggles as City's own dip in standards last season left them 18 points adrift in second.

"From my personal point of view, sometimes it is good to lose," added Guardiola.

"Four seasons are good enough to realise how difficult everything is.

"When you come back and try to win some games, you give more credit or value to what you have done or are doing."

City are still on course for an unprecedented Quadruple.

Guardiola's men return to Champions League action against Borussia Moenchengladbach in the last 16 next week, face Tottenham Hotspur in the League Cup final in April and visit Everton again in the FA Cup quarter-finals next month.

A run of 16 consecutive wins in all competitions has largely been achieved without Kevin de Bruyne, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury.

But the Belgian could feature for the first time in a month at Goodison Park tomorrow.

The in-form Ilkay Guendogan will be unavailable after coming off in the 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday with a groin injury, but Guardiola said the German should be fit for Monday morning's clash against Arsenal.

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and midfielder Allan could return from their injury layoffs, said manager Carlo Ancelotti yesterday.

Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is still out due to a hamstring injury, but could be fit to face Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby on Sunday morning. - AFP

Football