Pep Guardiola has claimed ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Liverpool on Sunday that his rivalry with Jurgen Klopp has improved him as a manager.

City go into the game just one point behind the table-topping Reds who smashed Porto 5-1 in their last game. The Cityzens’, meanwhile, lost 2-1 to PSG.

Speaking ahead of the game, Guardiola was full of praise for his opposing manager with whom he has shared a healthy rivalry with in recent years, having previously sparred with him in the Bundesliga.

“Since I arrived here – maybe not the first year – Liverpool were always there,” he said. “Jurgen Klopp’s teams helped me to be a better manager. He put me at another level, to think about it, to prove myself, to be a better manager. That is the reason why I am still in this business.

“The last four years, all the time, we were both there. It’s the biggest compliment that both clubs were there. But in the Premier League there are not just one or two, there are many teams who can fight for the league.”

Last season City got the better of Liverpool, beating them 4-1 in February after drawing 1-1 at Anfield towards the beginning of the campaign. These results tied up the head-to-head record between Guardiola and Klopp with each manager winning nine games each.

Guardiola added: “This is a really special game every year. You have to be your best version, and only then, you have a chance. We have to play a proper football game to have a chance but it’s Anfield. We are really looking forward to it.

“They [City] are probably the best team in Europe at the moment. Last weekend they played Chelsea and everyone was talking about how good they [Chelsea] are, which they are, but City were clearly better that day.

“We have to win the game and score goals but we have to defend at the absolute highest level to stay in the game and make sure the goals we score make the difference.”

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