Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been highly praised by new Leicester City boss Enzo Maresca, who said that only Man City have prevented the German from creating another dynasty of success on Merseyside.
Maresca takes the Foxes to Anfield on Wednesday night under no illusions as to the size of the task. The Italian worked under Guardiola for two seasons – but says that he has been a student of Klopp’s too.
He said: “I’ve tried to analyse and study Jurgen Klopp for a long time now because the way they work and the way they press is unbelievable. When they had Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, it was incredible.
“They are very intense, very aggressive. The game, the competition, the opponent – none of it matters. They always play the same way – it’s like a machine, to be honest.
“In transition and off the ball, they have been the best team in the world during the past seven or eight years. In terms of style of play, then Manchester City are the best in the world. But for transition and off the ball, Liverpool are at the same level.
“Now, they have some new players. They need time to adapt – but they will go again. It’s impossible to maintain the same level for five or six years – impossible. But, very soon they are going to be at the same level that they have been.
“You need time to recycle the team. They are changing some players but it will only be a short time before they are fighting for the Premier League and Champions League again. For sure, a short time.”
Maresca enjoyed one of the best seats in the house, watching from the dugout as Guardiola and Klopp stood toe-to-toe and fought it out. He added: “I enjoyed that challenge – being between two big managers, there are a lot of things to learn.
“Those types of games are difficult and it’s always, always small details that make the difference. They are two unbelievable teams. Different. Manchester City, in terms of style, have completely changed the way we see football. Liverpool have another style.
“For sure, Liverpool would have won more titles. I think, as clubs, they also enjoy the fight between them.” The Foxes are flying in the Championship under Maresca’s guidance.
“They have lost just once this season and Guardiola’s understudy is carving out a good reputation for himself in the east Midlands. He added: “It is an important competition and it’s a great environment to play football in. It’s Liverpool at Anfield. It will be a good test for us.”