How Pep Guardiola’s style of play is different from Jurgen Klopp’s?
Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are the two managers who have grabbed most of the headlines in the Premier League in the last couple of seasons, rightly and deservedly so.
While City has become the champions of England twice in a row under Guardiola, Klopp has taken Liverpool to the Champions League glory and is now on the verge of seeing them through to their first Premier League title as well this season.
What’s special about these two managers? They have indeed got good man-management skill, which is one of the essential requirements of the management in modern day Football. It’s their styles of play, however, which makes their teams lethal.
The managers broadly have two styles in Football – First is to maintain low blocks and to be compact in defense and catch the opposition on counter-attack, while second is to play high-pressing Football.
Both Guardiola and Klopp fall in the second category as their teams play high pressing Football, but they are still different in terms of their ideas.
Football is a lot about players’ movement when they lose the ball because that dictates when and where they get the ball. When Liverpool and City lose the ball, their instinct is not to drop deep. They want to win the ball as close to the opposition’s half as possible.
While the intentions of Liverpool and City are same, their ways of doing that are different. Liverpool surrounds the player with the ball on all sides, while keeping one passing lane open which is generally patrolled by their quickest player.
That passing lane is left open to force the opposition into thinking that the pass is on, but just as the ball is played, Liverpool’s player patrolling that passing lane intercepts, wins the ball and Liverpool’s attack starts from there.
Klopp’s idea of winning the ball high up is to start the attack straightaway and try and push the opposition in its final third when they think they have control of the ball.
When the opposition thinks they are in control of the ball, they wouldn’t have as many players in defensive positions as they would have when they think they are not in control. Klopp wants his team to take advantage of that.
But, for Klopp’s style of winning the ball, players of high intensity are required who can intercept on various occasions through the 90 minutes of play.
Guardiola’s idea is different. He asks his players to mark the opposition man for man and create a scenario where no passing lane is open on either side of the opposition. He wants to ensure that the only option left for the opposition is to play the ball long.
But, for Guardiola’s style of play, the players need to be highly efficient in one-on-one scenarios and they need to be good enough to prevent the players, they are marking from taking the ball past them.
Once Guardiola’s team forces the opposition into a long shot with no control, they aim to win the ball and start their short-passing game to make their way into the opposition’s final third.
While both are looking to get the ball into the opposition’s final third, Guardiola wants to do it in a way in which his team is more likely to have control and possession of the ball. Klopp, on the other hand, backs his players’ intensity to intercept.
And to be fair to Guardiola and Klopp, both of them have built a group of players who are equipped to do the job that they want from them. While City have got a lot of technically gifted players, Liverpool’s team at the moment is full of high intensity players, both at the front and the back.
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