Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has talked up Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola ahead of the two sides' Premier League clash on Sunday, claiming that the former Barcelona coach is the best manager in world football.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Klopp dismissed talk of his impressive record in matches over Guardiola, and said: "My respect for Pep Guardiola couldn't be bigger, he is the world's best manager and that makes it so difficult, but so exciting to play his teams. I have a really good relationship with Pep.
"A few times before these games, you say a few things and then realise obviously it could have been misunderstood, but then it's really important to say I really like and respect Pep and his staff. I've said it a few times, that if we couldn't be champions last season then Manchester City are very welcome."
"I really like the work they do, but on the other side if you play against a team of their quality, the win is even sweeter. That's how it is, and in that moment it's a big relief."
Liverpool beat Man City three times out of their four encounters last season, including two legs of the Champions League quarter-final. The first leg, which the Reds won 3-0, was marred by an attack on the City team bus before the game, and Guardiola's side are likely to be in the mood for revenge as they return to Anfield for the first time since the defeat.
In other news, Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has claimed that while his side respect City, they have no fear of the Premier League champions. The Anfield atmosphere is likely to be a real boost for the Reds, as the rampant home fans will be desperate to see their side get one over on their title rivals before the upcoming international break.