Klopp and Guardiola have shared countless battles over the years (Picture: Getty)
Klopp announced on Friday he will step down as Liverpool manager in a decision that rocked the football world.
City have won five of the last six Premier League titles with Liverpool the only side to halt them in that period, finishing runners up on two occasions having claimed the trophy themselves in 2020.
Guardiola and Klopp, the two best managers in the Premier League over that period, have shared countless battles dating back to their time in the Bundesliga while in charge of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund respectively.
Klopp has vowed to never manage another English club once he walks away from Anfield and suggested it would be at least a year before he returns to the dugout.
Speaking after City’s FA Cup victory over Tottenham, Guardiola paid tribute to the coach he recognises as his ‘biggest rival’ who will no longer be giving him sleepless nights when City meet Liverpool after this season.
‘I am a little bit surprised,’ Guardiola told ITV Sport.
Klopp will step down at the end of the season (Picture: Getty)
‘He is an incredible manager. I don’t know him closely but he is an incredible person as well. I have a feeling that at the end of the season when he is leaving, part of us at Man City is leaving too.
‘Liverpool have been our biggest rival in these years. Personally, he at Dortmund was also my biggest rival. So he will be missed. Personally I will miss him.
‘I’m a bit pleased because without him I will be sleeping a little bit better the nights before we play Liverpool. But I wish him all the best. He doesn’t admit it but he will be back.’
Guardiola made a similar decision to walk away from the game after four trophy-laden years in charge at Barcelona, explaining his time in charge at the Camp Nou had left him ‘worn out.’
‘All the managers when you are many years in the same place, I understand that completely,’ Guardiola added.
‘I found that at Barcelona. All the arguments, I listen to them and I understand them.’