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Pep Guardiola ‘decision’ gives Jürgen Klopp just two more chances to cement Liverpool legacy

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The legacy of the Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola era in the Premier League is on a knife edge, and the German knows what he must still achieve at Liverpool.

Having finally won the Champions League with Manchester City as part of a historic treble, it seems that Pep Guardiola may have settled on a timeline for his exit.

As per The Guardian, Guardiola is firmly intent on leaving the Etihad when his contract expires at the end of the 2024/25 season.

The Spaniard signed a new deal last autumn after a prolonged period of uncertainty, but has all but decided to depart at the end of that two-year term.

This opens up the possibility of Jürgen Klopp outlasting the Spaniard because his contract isn’t due to expire until 12 months later.

For the first time since his debut season on Merseyside, Klopp may compete with a Manchester City side not managed by Guardiola.

This would be seen as a golden opportunity to win the Premier League title against what is likely to be a weakened competitor.

Any available manager is likely to step down from Guardiola, and even a club with Manchester City’s resources may have to accept a transition period after such a seismic departure.

However, this would no doubt be seen as a cheaper crown. ‘You needed Pep to leave so you could win the league again,’ would be the repeated jibe at Klopp.

As such, you could argue that, from a legacy point of view, the German must beat his counterpart one more time in the next couple of seasons before his anticipated exit.

This era of Premier League football has been defined by their rivalry, as new Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag was told before he famously declared that ‘eras come to an end’ last summer (via Independent).

But if Guardiola wins the next two titles, then that would be seven in eight years, a truly unprecedented level of dominance. At that stage, this would simply have to be seen as the Guardiola era.

Liverpool, for all its struggles last season, still stands out as the most likely challenger to Manchester City in the next couple of years.

Liverpool

It remains the only team to beat Guardiola since 2017/18, and the only side that has proven it can stay with Man City for a whole campaign.

Arsenal was close to doing so last year but wilted rather spectacularly in April in the face of its rival’s robotic relentlessness.

There are a couple of important caveats here. The first is that Klopp needs to be equipped with the resources to challenge Manchester City once again, but thankfully, he’s proven that he doesn’t necessarily need footballing A-listers to do that. With a complete squad, there’s still plenty of reason to believe that he’ll haul Liverpool into contention.

The second is that Klopp probably isn’t all that concerned about legacy, just what’s best for his club.

But for supporters, there surely has to be some investment in the club’s best manager in modern history getting the recognition he deserves.

Think about how often we find ourselves debating the greatness of Steven Gerrard, perhaps the club’s best player of the 21st century, compared to his peers. There are bound to be similar discussions around Klopp for years, even decades to come.

And, even though he has been battling at a disadvantage, he may still need one more triumph over Guardiola to ensure he gets adequate plaudits.

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