LONDON — Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he will miss his old sparring partner Jürgen Klopp when the Liverpool manager calls time on his reign at the end of the season.
Klopp stunned the soccer world on Friday when he announced this would be his last season at the Anfield club he took over in 2015 and led to multiple trophies.
Asked after his side's 1-0 FA Cup fourth-round win at Tottenham Hotspur if the news had been a shock, Guardiola said: "I am a little bit, he's an absolutely incredible manager and I know I don't know him closely but he's an incredible person.
"I had a feeling that he's leaving part of us too at Man City as Liverpool have been our biggest rival in his years.
"Personally he has been my biggest rival from when he was at Dortmund and I was at Bayern Munich. He will be missed, personally I will miss. I am pleased because without him I will sleep a little bit better the night before we play against Liverpool! But I wish him all the best."
Pep Guardiola Klopp quote
Pep Guardiola on Jürgen Klopp leaving Liverpool:'I will miss him...without him I will sleep a little bit better the nights before we play Liverpool'
— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 26, 2024
City have jousted with Liverpool in several epic title races since Guardiola and Klopp both took charge and look set to go toe-to-toe again this season with the sides first and second in the standings.
"He doesn't admit it but he will be back," Guardiola, whose City side are seeking a fourth successive league title, said. "All the managers will (feel tired) when you've done many years, I feel it completely.
"I felt it at Barcelona so I understand it completely."
Klopp, who has won the Champions League, Premier League, Club World Cup, FA Cup, League Cup and Super Cup during his spell in charge, said he had made the decision because his energy for the job was waning.
"I think the Premier League is going to miss his charisma, personality and the way his teams play," added Guardiola.
"They have always been a pleasure to watch how positive they are in their approach. They try to win every game. I wish him all the best."
(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis)