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Footballing world excited by Klopp v Guardiola

OBSERVATION: Pep Guardiola watches on

OBSERVATION: Pep Guardiola watches on

It’s New Year’s Eve! The final countdown is under way, and the anticipation is building… because it’s matchday: City are in action.

The Blues travel to Liverpool in 5:30pm kick-off as the teams sitting in second and third place in the Premier League table do battle at Anfield – it’s sure to be a cracker!

Needless to say, the rest of the footballing world are almost as excited as the two sets of fans, to see how this one pans out – and the press have been rubbing their hands together at the prospect of Jurgen Klopp versus Pep Guardiola.

The Daily Mail’s Ian Ladyman is also eager to see how both men approach the clash, and has penned a piece on how fortunate the Premier League is to boast some of the world’s best managers.

He writes: “On Saturday, the last of an up-and-down football year, features the first meeting in England of Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

“It is fitting because on the one day of the year we are tempted to look backwards, the managers of Liverpool and Manchester City are two of those pointing the way forwards.

“We should celebrate this, too. We are lucky to have them. Both could probably earn more elsewhere. In Spain and, like it or not, in China. But they choose us, with our fantastically out-of-date fixture scheduling, our humpty-dumpty football and our terrible weather.

“For many reasons, we should be grateful. Klopp and Guardiola are not reinventing the game but they are committed to playing it in a brave and exciting way and this is one of the reasons why football at the top level in this country comes packaged in optimism right now.

“Whoever wins this Premier League will do so on the front foot and we should include Antonio Conte's liberated Chelsea in this category.

“The champions will, in all likelihood, come from one of these three clubs.”

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Michael Cox of ESPN agrees: “The Premier League has never boasted so many top-class managers, and Saturday's meeting between Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola is among the most mouthwatering tactical battles on the menu.

“We've had to wait exactly half the season to witness Klopp vs. Guardiola, but we could be in for fireworks on New Year's Eve.

“Klopp and Guardiola encourage completely different footballing styles. Indeed, when the two regularly met as managers of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, this was framed as a simple clash between transition play and possession play.

“Of course, things are a little more complex than that: Klopp's teams pass the ball effectively, Guardiola's are often very good at transitions. But there's clearly a fundamental difference in approach here -- more than anything, in terms of tempo. While Guardiola wants patient, methodical build-up play, Klopp's emphasises urgency.”

Quoted in the Mail and echoing the sentiments, Martin Keown also believes Yaya Toure could prove to be City’s key man once again.

"This will be a great game to witness,” he stated. “The managers, Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola, both have strong visions of how they want to play.

It will be a test of where their Liverpool and Manchester City sides are as we come into the new year and interesting to see which philosophy will come out on top.

“At the moment Klopp has the edge — but Guardiola has the better players.

"Yaya Toure oozes class now. He is limiting those powerful runs and being effective over five and 10 yards.

"Toure is key to City's title ambitions.

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"Toure — with Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in midfield and Sergio Aguero returning from suspension up front — could tip the balance towards a City victory."

Elsewhere, Liverpool have of course had plenty to say about tonight’s clash too. We brought you the best lines of Klopp’s press conference in previous media round-ups, and Reds forward Sadio Mane has since shared his thoughts.

With two of the Premier League’s top-scoring sides locking horns, goals are expected – and Mane is expecting an entertaining affair, according to Sky Sports.

"It will be a very good game because it is two open teams and everyone will be excited to play this game,” he declared.

"Maybe we have the best strikers, I can't say. In our mind it is not about being the best, it is about trying to score as many as we can.

"Of course it would help us make a big step if we won but not just against City, we have to try and do that in every game.

"We know we can beat every team in the league and so we are only focusing on ourselves. We don't have to think too much about City."

How do you feel about the game? Let us know using #cityview and cast your result, scorer and starting XI predictions in the CityMatchday app!

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