Sir Alex Ferguson versus Arsene Wenger was the rivalry that drove English football in the late 90s and early 2000s. The two gaffers locked horns on dozens of occasions over the years in one of the most famous duels the game has ever seen. However, in recent years Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola have eclipsed the ex-Manchester United and Arsenal gaffers to become football’s greatest modern rivalry.
One point that puts the German and the Spaniard’s rivalry ahead of that between the Scotsman and the Frenchman is that it has travelled the continent.
Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp first started doing battle regularly in the Bundesliga. Guardiola managed Bayern Munich and Jürgen Klopp bossed Borussia Dortmund.
The Spaniard bested Klopp in Germany when it came to the league but Jürgen had the upper hand in the German Super Cup. A year after the German took over at Anfield, Guardiola arrived in Manchester to reignite their rivalry.
A second reason that the current gaffers’ rivalry is more important is the quality of the sides. Whilst Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger both assembled some fantastic squads in their time – the current Man City and Liverpool teams are two of the best England has ever seen.
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The current Liverpool and City managers keep breaking records. Guardiola set a record points total for a Premier League campaign. Last season saw the Reds break the record for second place. These two sides are much further from the rest of the pack than either United or Arsenal were at their peak.
However, despite them being so far from the rest, they are so close to one another. The league being decided by just one point in 2018/19 is testament to that. In truth, Fergie and Wenger wasn’t much of a contest for a majority of their tenures – Sir Alex won ten more titles than the former Arsenal boss.
This season could see Klopp beat Guardiola to the English title for the first time, it will be just the latest chapter in their storied history. If Jürgen decides to stick around, their place in history will be hard to repeat.