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Klopp’s new deal gives Liverpool the certainty that Man City so desperately crave with Guardiola

Klopp’s new deal gives Liverpool the certainty that Man City so desperately crave with Guardiola
Jurgen Klopp has committed his future to Liverpool with a new deal until 2024, giving the Anfield club the certainty that Premier League rivals Manchester City would so desperately love with their boss Pep Guardiola.

Liverpool confirmed on Friday that Klopp had put pen to paper on an extension to his existing deal, which had been due to run out in 2022.

The German joined Liverpool in 2015 and will have been at the club for nine years, should he see out of duration of the new contract.

"This club is in such a good place, I couldn't contemplate leaving," Klopp, 52, said.

"For me personally this is a statement of intent, one which is built on my knowledge of what we as a partnership have achieved so far and what is still there for us to achieve.

"When I see the development of the club and the collaborative work that continues to take place, I feel my contribution can only grow.”

Klopp led Liverpool to the Champions League title last season, although the ecstasy of that achievement was tempered by the agony of missing out to Man City by a single point on the final day of the Premier League season. 

This term, Klopp’s men have shown renewed resolve to end that 30-year wait for a league title, already opening up an eight-point gap at the top of the table to Leicester in second, while Man City are 14 points adrift.

While Liverpool and Klopp have suffered no shortage of heartache – losing in finals in the League Cup, Europa League, and Champions League – it’s clear that the pair were made for each other.

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Off the pitch, the German has embraced everything about the history of the Merseyside club and the passion of the fans.

On it, Klopp has brought a high-intensity, full-throttle style that has taken an already talented group of players to ever-greater heights.  

Klopp wears his heart on his sleeve, and the Kop love it.

"When the call came in autumn 2015, I felt we were perfect for each other; if anything, now I feel I underestimated that," Klopp said on signing his new deal. 

"It is only with a total belief that the collaboration remains totally complementary on both sides that I am able to make this commitment to 2024.

"If I didn't, I would not be re-signing."

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Happy times on Merseyside, but less so 30 miles down the road at Manchester City.

Fourteen points behind in the league on the back of suffering a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United at the weekend, City fans were faced with claims on Friday that Pep Guardiola has a break clause in his contract at the end of the current season which, under certain circumstances, he could activate to walk away before it is due to expire in 2021. 

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While Guardiola later moved to reject the reports – he has even suggested that he would be “open” to extending his current deal – the Catalan has yet to stay beyond four years at any of the clubs he has managed (his spell at Barcelona spanned four years, while he was at Bayern Munich for three).

A five-year limit is looming for City in 2021, and the increasingly nagging fear in the minds of the City hierarchy and club’s fans will be that Guardiola, 48, is a man who by his very nature cannot commit himself to a project beyond that, so thin does he stretch himself in pursuit of footballing perfection.

Guardiola’s brilliance lies in tactical acumen stemming from a ceaseless drive for perfection – an approach that has quite literally been a game-changer in his time as coach. But so bright is his talent, by his own admission it leaves him vulnerable to burning out.

Guardiola left Barcelona in 2012 as the most successful coach in the club’s history, winning 14 major titles in four years. But he spoke of being physically, mentally and tactically exhausted by the toll it had taken. He then took a year’s sabbatical and moved to New York before joining Bayern Munich.

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So far at City he has been given a setup that was essentially tailor-made to get him in the door – from bringing in friend and former Barcelona ally Txiki Begiristain in as director of football, to opening the purse strings generously when Guardiola has signaled the need to spend.

Guardiola has repaid the club brilliantly, overcoming a difficult first season to win back-to-back league titles and play some of the best football England has ever seen. This season’s woes in the league will be largely forgotten if Guardiola can guide City to the Champions League title.

But all of that equally makes life after Pep so hard to contemplate.   

And while it might be a first-world problem in footballing terms, ascertaining Guardiola’s plans for next year and beyond is a problem for Man City nonetheless – and is one that has been brought into even sharper focus with Klopp’s renewed longterm commitment to Liverpool.

By Liam Tyler

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