19 Sept 2016

'Genius': £21m playmaker claims 'world-class' boss is better than Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp. Agree?

With Guardiola, Klopp, Mourinho, Wenger, and Conte, the Premier Leagaue is in the midst of a management golden age, but who's the best of the best?

According to recent Man City signing Ilkay Gundogan, there is only one winner. When asked over the weekend about Klopp and Guardiola, Gundogan enthused:

"Both are world-class managers. Jurgen Klopp is more emotional; Pep is equally passionate but he is more like a genius who reads the game and covers every situation imaginable. There is no manager like him, which makes him probably the best in the world".

I've made this point before, but Jurgen Klopp is not currently a world-class manager (IMO):

* Klopp used to merit that label, especially from 2010-2012, when he won two league titles in a row.

* However, Klopp hasn't won a trophy since 2012, an in the intervening time, he has arguably failed to maintain 'world-class' status, and the last two seasons arguably prove this.

* 2014-15: Klopp's Dortmund spent much of the season in the relegation zone and/or the bottom half of the table, before finally finishing 7th in the Bundesliga.

* 2015-16: Klopp presided over LFC's joint worst Premier League finish since 1994.

For me, the label 'world-class' needs to be continuously earned (by both players and managers), and shouldn't just be permanently applied on the basis of a limited period of success. As a comparison, consider Louis Van Gaal - seven league titles and a Champions League trophy with four different clubs suggests world-class ability, but after his stint at Man Utd, is he still deserving of the 'world-class' label?

Of course not, especially since Van Gaal last won a league title in 2010. The question is simple: What has Van Gaal achieved over the last six years that suggests he remains a 'word-class' manager? The same question applies to Klopp.

Conversely, Guardiola remains a world-class manager as he has a recent history of consistent trophy-winning success (and he's also hit the ground running at Man City). As for Klopp - for him to regain the 'world-class' label, he needs to either win the league, or the Champions League with Liverpool.


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