The catwalk that tonight will most likely be reserved by Manchester City players for Liverpool players will mark the final handover of the Premier League scepter. In late November, Pep Guardiola had teased Jurgen Klopp with a joke: “We could exchange championship and Champions League”. The German took him at his word, dominating the top English tournament and getting eliminated by Atletico Madrid in Europe. Now it’s up to the Spaniard, who far from Barcelona has collected only continental disappointments: nine years without winning the Big-eared cup they are many, especially when you train noble and ambitious clubs. Of course, the Champions League is conquered with details and a bit of luck, a component that has often been lacking in Bayern Munich and Manchester City. In August, however, De Bruyne and associates have an obligation to believe it.
So equal, so different – The rivalry between Klopp and Guardiola is one of the most sane of history. After greeting two immortal managers like Ferguson and Wenger, the Premier League welcomed two figures with great enthusiasm glamour, which embody an entirely new model of thinking about football. They don’t love each other, but they don’t hate each other either, they are intelligent and diplomatic. Pep is philosophy, pure aesthetics; Jurgen is the praise of the group and verticality. Counterpressing versus tiki-taka, obsessive search for ball possession and space against speed and rhythm. Although the calculation of the trophies is clearly to the advantage of the first (46-9 considering also the victories as a footballer), the second dominates in direct clashes: in 17 official matches, Klopp has beaten Guardiola 9 times, succumbing in 5 occasions. The Catalan has always suffered from his rival, but tonight he has every intention of curbing the hunt for the points record held by his Manchester City. One last great performance on the national stage, before reserving all the strength for the conquest of the Champions League.