Fans debate: Pep Guardiola or Jürgen Klopp – who is best?

By Sameer Naik8 March 2024

Fans debate: Pep Guardiola or Jürgen Klopp – who is best?

It’s time to settle a longstanding debate.

Who reigns supreme in the managerial world of football between Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, and Liverpool’s passionate German, Jürgen Klopp?

As the two lock heads for one final time in the Premier League on Sunday, Showmax caught up with a few die-hard football fans to get their views on who they consider the superior manager. Ever since arriving in England, Guardiola has racked up an impressive 10 major trophies, while Klopp has managed to amass just six major trophies.

But are the trophy hauls of the two managers all that matters? Some football fans agree, while others say there is far more to a good football manager than his/her trophy haul.

We chat to fans ahead of the massive clash between Liverpool and City at Anfield on Sunday. The game will be shown live on Showmax Premier League, on Sunday, 10 March at 17:45.

Haneefah Lee

Well, I guess it’s not that hard and I’m not just going to say this because I’m a scouser. Well, of course I would go with Jürgen Klopp, even though pep Guardiola has a bigger trophy haul than Jürgen. But if you look at that, most of those trophies come from his Barcelona days. And let’s be honest, that’s before they even met. But the reason I say that Jürgen Klopp is the better manager is because he’s so good at handling everything such as media, his players, and even his fans. Everyone loves Klopp, even if you’re not a Liverpool fan, you can’t hate that guy and even when it comes to his rivals there aren’t many bad things that they can say about him. Jürgen Klopp is a very genuine and funny guy, even when it comes to his players, but he knows when to play and when to be serious. He is frank, but doesn’t say controversial things because he understands how the media works.

But when it comes to Pep Guardiola, he’s been visibly frustrated by media questions a lot. Media tend to ask uncomfortable, stupid questions. Pep never has an outburst, but you can see he’s annoyed. And that’s why Klopp’s press conferences are the most fun to watch. He will joke around, praise his players, praise his opposition, and he creates an upbeat atmosphere. Whereas Pep, as good as he is, doesn’t do that.

Elli Lechtman

My answer is obviously biased as I am a Liverpool supporter and would favour Klopp over Pep, but we need to systematically dissect why this is the case. Let’s look at their managerial history.

Klopp and Guardiola have different approaches to football, both in terms of tactics and mentality. Klopp is known for his high-intensity, pressing, and counter-attacking style. He focuses on creating a strong team spirit, a positive atmosphere, and a collective identity among his players. He is also adept at improving and developing the players he has, rather than relying on expensive signings. Guardiola, on the other hand, is known for his possession-based, intricate, and fluid style. He focuses on creating a sophisticated system, tactical flexibility, and a technical excellence among his players. He is also known for demanding and spending huge amounts of money on transfers, often breaking records and reshaping his squads.

Klopp and Guardiola have also achieved different levels of success with different clubs and in different contexts. Klopp started his managerial career at Mainz, a modest club in Germany, where he led them to their first ever Bundesliga promotion and qualification for the UEFA Cup. He then moved to Borussia Dortmund, where he won two Bundesliga titles, one German Cup, and reached the Champions League final, all while competing against the dominant Bayern Munich and with a relatively low budget. He then joined Liverpool, where he ended their 30-year wait for a league title, won the Champions League, the Club World Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup, and transformed them into one of the best teams in the world.

Guardiola started his managerial career at Barcelona, where he inherited a squad that already had Lionel Messi, Xavi, and Andres Iniesta, and added more world-class players like Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, and Sergio Busquets. He won three La Liga titles, two Champions League titles, and two Club World Cups, among other trophies, and created one of the most dominant and admired teams in history. He then moved to Bayern Munich, where he won three Bundesliga titles, two German Cups, but failed to win the Champions League, despite having a superior squad and facing weaker opposition. He then joined Manchester City, where he has won three Premier League titles, one FA Cup, and four League Cups, and finally, after a relatively long time, and having spent over one billion pounds in transfers, he won the Champions League.

Sean Newman

As a Liverpool supporter, I am going to have to say Klopp wins the battle between the two managers. I am going to say it time and time again, he is a better manager. The man is a leader and an inspiration, and I think the easiest thing to always ask yourself is “Have you ever heard another clubs supporter say that they wish they had Pep as manager?” No. Many fans are jealous that we have Klopp. Many have celebrated his leaving. Others have commiserated because they feel that he has brought value to the Premier League. So, if I have to ask the question to myself, time and time again, I will never choose the bald-headed one. I will always support the idea that Klopp is a better manager. He’s done more with less and with more inspiration.

Rabbie Serumula

I am a Cityzen, and I am going to say this without bias, when it comes to the old age debate of Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp, there is no question. Our very own maestro of the Etihad, Pep Guardiola is the superior manager. Yes, Klopp is passionate, and we understand passion, but Pep’s relentless pursuit for victory and his unmatched trophy haul makes him the superior manager. So if you want to back a winner, there is only one choice, Pep Guardiola, Man City’s very own architect of greatness.

Vivian Casaletti

Well, for me, it’s Pep. I really like his style of play, it’s so fluid, creative and I like an attacking kind of football. I also like him as a person. I like what he’s done, the relationship he has with his players, the way he inspires and motivates his players. Many of the players he has now weren’t performing as well as they do under his leadership, so he clearly has something that can bring out the best in the players. I overall like his management style and the way he presents himself to the media and the fans.

Having said that, I also like Klopp. In Klopp, what I respect the most is his personality. He brings that good energy, that direct authenticity to the leagues he plays in. But in terms of style of play and success, it has to be Pep. Pep has consistently had success everywhere he goes, so Pep’s my man.

Brett Rogers

I think this is one of the toughest debates on who’s the best. If we are going to look at obvious things like who won the most trophies, then it’s simple, it’s Pep Guardiola. But I don’t think that that can be the analysis of who is the best manager. I view a great manager as one that can take what he or she may have and create a winning team out of them. I think what Jürgen Klopp has done regarding the culture of the club, the longevity of the club, is infinitely more powerful than what Pep has done.

Pep has got a lot of trophies, but who’s he trying to win the trophies for? Is he trying to win it for the fans? Because City fans are kind of not great. Just like the Chelsea fans of the early 2000s, and the City fans nowadays are plastic fans. Why am I seeing hundreds of City shirts now? Before, I didn’t see any. They didn’t start supporting City until Pep started winning trophies for them. And they will disappear as soon as Pep leaves and the team disintegrates. I think that the culture at the club will disappear. The culture that has been created by Klopp at Liverpool, on the other hand, will set the entire city in good stead, the club in good stead, and is better for football. I think that throwing money at the problem debate shows that money doesn’t solve everything. Look at PSG, Barcelona, Newcastle, Chelsea even now. Without the basis of a team, without a style, without a culture, success is very difficult.

Pep is an incredible manager, but I would love to see him at Brighton, at Newcastle, at an Everton, or a West Ham. Put him in a team like that with the resources that Jürgen has. I don’t think he succeeds the way Jürgen does, I don’t think he takes an upper mid-tier team to Champions League, a Super Club final, a Premier League trophy. I don’t think he succeeds. For those reasons alone I select Jürgen Klopp as my guy.

Leesharn Rose

Klopp’s dominance over Guardiola is undeniable, with a string of victories that highlight his managerial prowess since taking the helm at Liverpool. The German tactician has often outwitted his counterpart at City. With each encounter between the two footballing giants, Klopp’s strategic acumen and passion for the game shine through, solidifying his status as a formidable force in the world of football management.

Martin Moses

Pep Guardiola, by his own admission, has always been referred to as a cheque-book manager. He thrives in making world class players tick and play for each other.

But as clubs like PSG, Chelsea or even Manchester City itself before Guardiola’s arrival will show you, having money itself is not enough.

You need a team that subscribes to your ideas. A team that is as passionate as you are. The fact that Guardiola has finished below third in a league campaign only once is his whole career is testament of his prowess.

His man-management skills are also top-notch. From benching a £100mil Jack Grealish to unleashing him when he is ready, to managing a Kevin De Bruyne who has just returned from a serious injury, to releasing players who no longer subscribe to his vision (Cole Palmer), the Spaniard always knows how to fill in his chess pieces.

Don’t get me wrong. What Jürgen Klopp did with otherwise modest budgets is commendable. Taking a kid from the academy and another one from Hull City and turning them to elite fullbacks is not something any manager can do.

But Guardiola’s longevity, dominating Spain and Europe with Barcelona, Germany with Bayern Munich and England and Europe again, will always put him a level above. Not only above Klopp, but a level higher than the best managers you can think of. Sir Alex Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti … You name it.

Elijah Odetokun

Pep Guardiola had no time to waste when he took over Barcelona, he stamped his authority and went straight to winning trophies and has kept winning since. Every season, bar his first in the Premier League, he was a contender for the league title.

He has won trebles with two different clubs and also a sextuple to Klopp’s none. He began Bayern Munich’s 11 straight Bundesliga titles by winning the first three. He won City’s first UEFA Champions League as part of a historic treble.

Do not be deceived that he is a cheque-book manager. Klopp at Liverpool has two of the most expensive players in the league in goalkeeper Alisson Becker and defender Virgil van Dijk , and were only Moises Caicedo’s commitment to moving to Chelsea away from having the most expensive British transfer in their team. Oh, Darwin Nunez is currently the most expensive striker in the Premier League at £85m, more than City paid for Erling Haaland.

When both men are retired, Pep Guardiola, as he already is, will be in the conversation as the greatest of all time, while Klopp certainly hasn’t been and probably won’t be in the conversation.

To experience Showmax Premier League and enjoy all 380 live matches on the go, users can sign up for Showmax Premier League.