Pep Guardiola Hits Back at Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp Over Comments That Two-Week Coronavirus Break 'Helped' Man City

 

Pep Guardiola hit out at Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp for suggesting that Manchester City benefitted from a “two-week break” following the coronavirus outbreak at the club in December.

City’s trip to Everton in the Premier League was postponed after a number of positive cases were recorded within the playing squad. As a result, City had a gap of eight days between their game against Newcastle on Boxing Day and their trip to Chelsea on January 3.

And Klopp hinted that the break helped City rise from mid-table to three points clear at the top with a game in hand. “We didn’t have a break,” the Liverpool boss said. “I think City had a two-week break for Covid reasons.”

But the German’s remarks seem to have irked Guardiola, who responded with: “Jurgen has to see the calendar again. We had Covid and we played with 14 players at Stamford Bridge, but maybe I’m wrong and it was not two weeks, it was three or four weeks. When I see Jurgen I’ll say to him: how many weeks or days were we off?”

Pep added, “I’m surprised. I thought Jurgen was not that type of manager, like other ones who are usually doing it. I didn’t expect that comment. But maybe it was a misunderstanding from him. If he sees the calendar again he will realise it was not two weeks, it was two months.”

The City boss hinted that Klopp’s comments could be construed as ‘mind games’ ahead of their season-defining clash this weekend. “He knows it’s not true,” the Spaniard added before concluding, “Nobody in the Premier League has had two weeks off. Some of them with that kind of situation does it for purpose but I didn’t expect he would do it. I thought he’s not that type of guy, but if he did it, OK. Welcome. Maybe I was wrong.”

Guardiola’s side were one of several clubs who started their season late due to their European commitments last season, but they also had 11 fewer days in pre-season than Liverpool. Victory for City at Anfield on Sunday would see them pull 10 points clear with a game in hand.