The Premier League has seen its fair share of dominant striking performances over the years.
Over the past two years, English football has given birth to a new rivalry that has added more fire towards the most popular league in the world.
The attention that a Liverpool versus Manchester City game attracts is undoubtedly thanks to their managers. Some would even go as far as to rename it the Jurgen Klopp versus Pep Guardiola bout.
So that begs the question: who is the better manager?
A lot of pundits would say that Guardiola should be crowned just because of his achievements alone, but I would like to disagree from them.
Being a Premier League manager is unlike any managerial role in the world and can be one of the most brutal. The pressure of good performances as well as the fans and the objective to stay relevant at the top of the table for long periods can overwhelm even the toughest of managers, so the ability to build a team in the Premier League should be taken in account as well.
Since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure from the Premier League, many coaches have tried to emulate what the Scot had accomplished with Manchester United. Their noisy neighbours have come the closest.
However, Manchester City’s luck only started when new cash-splashing owners took control of the club. They suddenly attracted some of the biggest names in football and with good players came good results.
But world-class football players can’t be managed by mediocre bosses, hence the employment of Pep Guardiola. His reputation spoke for itself and he sat at a table of its own class.
So his success at City came as no surprise to anyone. His managerial career has been a green pasture with no real bumps in the road so far, but I question whether all his success should be credited to him alone.
His accomplishments have certainly not been all him. In his first season as a manager he was given the reins to a Barcelona side that had seven of Spain’s World Cup winners in his line-up and definitely did not need much guidance at the time.
The same can be said of his second club, Bayern Munich, who also had seven of Germany’s key players playing under him. Of course trophies would follow when you have world champions representing you.
On the other hand, you have the ultimate football fairy tale of a man who had to start at the bottom and build his reputation up to where he stands as the king of Europe today.
Jurgen Klopp’s story is the complete opposite to his adversary. Unlike Pep, he did not make his debut as a manager for a world-class side like Barcelona, instead his first task was to promote his team Mainz 05 to top-flight football in Germany, and so he did.
After that came a spell at Borussia Dortmund where heartbreak awaited him, losing the Champions League final against old foes Bayern Munich. His next challenge was situated in Liverpool and the Reds are by far the most successful club he has managed.
They won the Champions League final and sit at the top of the Premier League table with a noticeable lead that will ensure being well deserved winners if the FA were to anoint a title-holder for this season.
Klopp is the epitome of any aspiring manger’s dream. The hard work that he put in behind the scenes to create an environment for players, staff and fans alike to feel comfortable has gone unseen by many.
Guardiola has always been blessed with the financial support of his club, extraordinary players as well as his notoriety that he attained at previous clubs. But when Klopp arrives at a club, he has a dream. And along with that dream he implements a style of football that would always pay dividends if supported by the owners.
The German also has a special connection with the fans. Even when he visits his old clubs to play against them, he is welcomed by chants of gratefulness rather than cries of bitterness. Klopp’s ability to transform a club from a striving-to-be-successful club to a footballing giant is uncanny and it is a rare talent to possess.
Guardiola rocked up at the Etihad and was received by money, an exceptional squad and brilliant facilities. But Klopp took what he got from the Anfield faithful and transformed it into a powerhouse giant that is hungry for glory and will surely continue to be successful.