Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester.

What they said: The five players to work for both Klopp and Guardiola

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have undoubtedly been two of the best managers in recent Premier League history. 

But their success relies on very different styles; you have Klopp’s heavy metal football and Guardiola’s controlled orchestra.

Here’s a selection of quotes from the few players fortunate enough to have first-hand experience of working for both.

Mario Gotze

Games under Guardiola: 114

Goals: 36

Trophies: 7

“Pep Guardiola was technically one of the best coaches, [playing under him was a] tremendous enrichment,” Gotze told DANZ in 2018.

“But I had the feeling that he thinks only the pitch and leaves out the people and the outside. The empathy was not that big. A world-class coach needs empathy, every athlete is also human and you should combine both.”

Games under Klopp: 116

Goals: 31

Trophies: 3

“It was not easy for me [under Pep], just because I came from Kloppo, who was like a footballing father.

“Klopp was interested in getting me to Liverpool. And I was also interested in working with him again. He is a world-class coach and that’s why it’s always an option. I decided to join Dortmund, but it was not a decision against Liverpool or Klopp. But on the contrary.

“I’m still in touch with Jurgen. Of course, he taught me everything about professional football. At that time, I was just 17 and coming up from the youth team. He introduced me to everything. He let me play.”

Robert Lewandowski

Games under Guardiola: 100

Goals: 67

Trophies: 3

“In my opinion Pep Guardiola makes almost every player better, so everyone can consider himself lucky to train under him,” Lewandowski told Bild.

“I know Pep can improve a team in England,” he told the Daily Mail in 2016. “I think he knows where he’s going and he knows what he needs to do with the team he’s going to so that they play much better.

“Pep thinks about football 24 hours a day. An obsessive? ‘That’s right. He covers every angle to the smallest detail and he always demands 100 per cent in training and in games.”

Games under Klopp: 187

Goals: 103

Trophies: 4

“Obviously Jurgen wasn’t my dad, but in different ways he sort of adopted that role,” Lewandowski told Polish publication Prawda Futbolu.

“He was one of the main factors behind my development and he opened the door to the big wide world of football for me.

“He’s got charisma and knows how to create the right atmosphere in a team. On top of that, he’s able to find the right balance between fun and more serious criticism. He’s a coach you’d run through fire for.”

“I’m delighted I was able to get to know such a coach and such a person as Jürgen because he’s amazing – both as a coach and a person,” Lewandowski told UEFA in 2019. “I learned so much from him and that means a lot.

“I think what I learned from him is the belief I could play at the highest level. He had this influence and it helped me take the next step. He made me realise that I had more potential than even I had imagined. He could see something in me that I couldn’t see.”

READ: Robert Lewandowski: So special he even made Pep disbelieve

Ilkay Gundogan

Games under Guardiola: 217

Goals: 40

Trophies: 10

“Pep has such big charisma that you automatically try your best when you’re out on the training field,” he told Sport Bible. “When you’re not 100 per cent he’s able to wake you up very quickly.”

Games under Klopp: 117

Goals: 12

Trophies: 3

“Jürgen is a terrific coach and he’s capable of motivating his team ahead of every game,” Gundogan said. “He doesn’t mind if it’s a friendly between amateur teams or a Champions League final, for example.

“He’s a top guy who knows how to deal with his players, how to treat them and how to motivate them. And he’s proving all that again with Liverpool – their attack is incredibly strong.”

Xherdan Shaqiri

Games under Guardiola: 42

Goals: 9

Trophies: 4

“He is a very good coach in terms of what happens on the pitch, but his communication was not so good with me,” Shaqiri told the Daily Mail.

“Guardiola doesn’t talk too much about this [leaving players out]. He doesn’t say to the players why.

“Of course sometimes that’s difficult for a player, especially when you are working well and training well. And especially when he speaks around the media and says ‘He is good, he is good. He is the best player’.”

Games under Klopp: 63

Goals: 8

Trophies: 4

“I understand myself excellently with him. I like people who are so open. And that we can talk in German, of course, is great,” Shaqiri told Blick in 2018.

“Klopp impresses me so much that I will say: I want to win the title for this man. And if we continue like this in the moment, then everything is possible.”

Thiago Alcantara

Games under Guardiola: 145

Goals: 17

Trophies: 17

“All of you know how Pep Guardiola is as a manager… he is the best coach in history, I have shared great moments with him and bad moments but you know how somebody is in bad moments and he always was there,” Thiago told Goal in 2016.

“I came to Bayern with him and I am so grateful as he brought me the opportunity to play at a great club like Bayern.

“It is sad that he has to leave… he is a manager who needs time to know the team and we are now in a good dynamic.

“The things are working as he wants, or we want, so it is a shame that he has to leave but we have to respect his decision.”

READ: Thiago’s first touch is so good it’s like he’s playing a different sport to others

Games under Klopp: 28

Goals: 1

Trophies: 0

“I’m glad to have him as a coach, to try to reach my football, to try to learn as much as I can with him and with the team,” he told Liverpool FC’s YouTube channel when he signed for the club.

“I’ve had a couple of chances to speak to him and, as everybody knows, he’s an amazing guy and he tries to always give his positive side.”

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