Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will face off as managers in a competitive match for the 12th time on Sunday afternoon at Anfield.
Eight clashes in Germany as the bosses of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich respectively preceded a trio of Premier League showdowns so far that have yielded a win apiece and one draw.
The fourth instalment in English football will see Liverpool aim to extend a 17-game unbeaten streak in all competitions against a Manchester City side who have yet to experience defeat in the top flight this season.
Here is a brief history of Klopp v Guardiola…
Klopp’s men had lifted the Bundesliga title in two of the previous three seasons when Guardiola was installed in the dugout at Bayern in 2013, who had downed Dortmund in the Champions League final earlier that year.
They met on four occasions across the season, beginning with a 4-2 victory for BVB in the German Super Cup at their own stadium, Signal Iduna Park, in late July.
In the league head-to-heads, they traded emphatic 3-0 victories over one another away from home, Bayern claiming the spoils on the road in November before Dortmund silenced the Allianz Arena with the same result to balance the books the following April.
Nevertheless, Guardiola’s men took the championship by a margin of 19 points and succeeded in the rivals’ fourth and final direct confrontation, too – completing the double with a 2-0 win after extra-time in the DFB Pokal showpiece in Berlin.
Super Cup glory was Dortmund’s once more when hostilities resumed for the new season, however. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the goals to defeat Bayern on home soil again.
Guardiola’s charges responded by doing the double over their nemeses in the Bundesliga – 2-1 at home and 1-0 away – but there was to be one more tactical battle in Germany between two of the modern managerial greats.
Aubameyang levelled Robert Lewandowski’s opener in their DFB Pokal semi-final at the Allianz and, after extra-time failed to separate them, BVB prevailed on penalties as the hosts contrived to squander all four spot-kicks.
Sadly, Wolfsburg ruined hopes of a fairytale send-off for Klopp in his last match as Dortmund manager with a 3-1 triumph in the subsequent final. His record against Guardiola stood at four victories each.
Klopp’s departure from the Dortmund hotseat at the conclusion of the previous campaign, after seven years in charge, meant no meeting with Guardiola in 2015-16, during which the Spaniard guided Bayern to the Bundesliga title for the third time in a row.
Where the latter had taken a full 12-month sabbatical upon leaving Barcelona in 2012, the former’s spell away from the sidelines lasted less than half as long – with the lure of the Liverpool job proving too much to resist in October 2015.
And so, when Guardiola swapped Munich for Manchester and took the reins at City in the summer of 2016, the stage was set for the two men to pit their wits against each other for the first time in English football.
While both of these sides are celebrated for the expansive, attacking nature of their play, the two league clashes between them last term were genuine thrillers despite producing only three goals in total.
They brought the curtain down on 2016 with an absorbing encounter under the Anfield floodlights on New Year’s Eve which was somehow settled by a single effort from the head of Georginio Wijnaldum in the eighth minute.
March’s reverse fixture did not disappoint either.
Once more, the ebb and flow was endless and the visitors came close to repeating the trick after James Milner converted a penalty past his former club six minutes into the second half.
But Sergio Aguero struck back before the final whistle to snatch a share of the spoils. “Nice game to watch probably but on the sideline it’s really hard work. And on the pitch, it’s outstanding hard work,” said Klopp.
The most recent meeting was a September afternoon to forget for the Reds.
A hitherto evenly-matched Premier League contest in Manchester was effectively swung in the space of 13 first-half minutes as Aguero put the hosts ahead and then Sadio Mane received a straight red card for a high challenge on City goalkeeper Ederson.
Gabriel Jesus netted either side of half-time and Leroy Sane bagged twice late on to rack up a resounding result that seemed unlikely when the rivals each had 11 players going toe-to-toe.