Pep Guardiola has responded to Jurgen Klopp’s message of congratulations by thanking the Liverpool boss for making him a better manager.
Manchester City’s reclaiming of the Premier League crown was confirmed on Tuesday following Leicester’s win at Old Trafford, putting Guardiola’s men top of the pile again for the third time in four seasons.
For all its inevitability from the midway point of this season, it will no doubt have hurt Klopp for his side to have relinquished their title defence in such disappointing circumstances amid their injury crisis.
But he was full of praise for “best manager in the world” Guardiola as he congratulated City on their triumph earlier this week.
“It’s always a joy to play against them because it’s a massive challenge from a football point of view,” Klopp said. “You can beat them but you have to be at your absolute top to do so.”
The pair have been at loggerheads in England over recent seasons as Liverpool and Man City vie for honours.
But the feeling is obviously mutual, as Guardiola took Klopp’s compliments and chose to send back some of his own.
“I appreciate it a lot, him and Carlo Ancelotti have done it [congratulated us] and I appreciate both of them,” Guardiola said.
“I could not answer messages but I will do today. I admire both of them. [Klopp] was an inspiration for me, he made me through his teams – Dortmund and Liverpool – a better manager.
“He made me think a lot about games and opponents. Thank you so much and I appreciate it a lot.”
It was evident how much the challenge of Liverpool troubled Guardiola in the Amazon series All Or Nothing, where he admitted the Reds’ front three “scare me”.
And while Liverpool have faltered this season, City deserve credit for wrestling back the title in stunning fashion.
With that trophy now in the bag, Guardiola’s attentions will likely already be turning to the only piece of silverware he has failed to lift at City during his tenure thus far – the Champions League – but preparations for next season are not far from his thinking either.
“Last season we couldn’t compete against Liverpool, they were unstoppable, but we were second,” he said. “Every season we are close, next season we want to be close again.
“Every season I have the feeling everyone is stronger, every year, from the first season we arrive the teams and managers are stronger.”
Assessing the chances of Klopp’s side, he added: “Liverpool will be back next season they have been unlucky.”