Liverpool vs Man City: Rivalry between clubs is getting 'bigger and bigger', says Jurgen Klopp.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes the growing rivalry between them and Manchester City is proof his side are a genuine threat to their next opponents.

The Reds hold a six-point lead over City ahead of Sunday’s visit to Anfield and, although Klopp rates Pep Guardiola as “the best manager in the world”, he believes the teams are on an equal footing.

“I think it’s getting bigger and bigger. I am here for four years, what can I say about traditions?” said the German, whose side lost out by a point in last season’s thrilling title race.

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“We live in the now and obviously Man City is a pretty good football team and that means of course there is a rivalry.

“Thank God there is a rivalry as that means we are in a not bad place as well.

Liverpool vs City combined XI

Show all 12

Guardiola and Klopp
Alisson
Trent Alexander-Arnold
Fernandinho

Liverpool vs City combined XI

Guardiola and Klopp

1/12 Guardiola and Klopp

Who would each manager love to have from the opposing team?

AFP via Getty Images

Alisson

2/12 Alisson

The Brazilian No. 1 takes the gloves ahead of his compatriot...or Claudio Bravo, if Ederson isn't fit.

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Trent Alexander-Arnold

3/12 Trent Alexander-Arnold

The most creative full-back in the Premier League and a local hero for the Reds.

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Fernandinho

4/12 Fernandinho

Pressed into action as a centre-back of late, the Brazilian's reading of the game ensures he's a success even out of position.

AFP via Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk

5/12 Virgil van Dijk

Possibly the finest centre-back in world football, a Ballon d'Or contender and the rock the Liverpool team is built on.

AFP via Getty Images

Andy Robertson

6/12 Andy Robertson

The flying Scotsman down the Liverpool left, only four players have more Premier League assists than him this season. None are defenders.

Getty Images

Fabinho

7/12 Fabinho

Liverpool's "lighthouse" according to assistant manager Pep Lijnders. Vital to the Reds with his ball-winning, passing range and strength.

Getty Images

Kevin de Bruyne

8/12 Kevin de Bruyne

Man City's magic wand. His nine assists are more than double any other Premier League player this season.

AFP via Getty Images

Bernardo Silva

9/12 Bernardo Silva

Scheming, clever, inventive, composed and extremely difficult to stop, whether in midfield or the forward line.

Getty Images

Raheem Sterling

10/12 Raheem Sterling

The ex-Liverpool man has reached another level again this season with a series of composed and clinical displays.

Getty Images

Sergio Aguero

11/12 Sergio Aguero

Just edging out Roberto Firmino, the preferred No. 9 much depends on what you want your striker to do. Most want goals, so that's Aguero in.

Getty Images

Sadio Mane

12/12 Sadio Mane

Perhaps the most in-form player for the table-toppers this season, he's a big-game player with equal parts creativity and goalscoring to his name.

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Guardiola and Klopp

1/12 Guardiola and Klopp

Who would each manager love to have from the opposing team?

AFP via Getty Images

Alisson

2/12 Alisson

The Brazilian No. 1 takes the gloves ahead of his compatriot...or Claudio Bravo, if Ederson isn't fit.

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Trent Alexander-Arnold

3/12 Trent Alexander-Arnold

The most creative full-back in the Premier League and a local hero for the Reds.

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Fernandinho

4/12 Fernandinho

Pressed into action as a centre-back of late, the Brazilian's reading of the game ensures he's a success even out of position.

AFP via Getty Images

Virgil van Dijk

5/12 Virgil van Dijk

Possibly the finest centre-back in world football, a Ballon d'Or contender and the rock the Liverpool team is built on.

AFP via Getty Images

Andy Robertson

6/12 Andy Robertson

The flying Scotsman down the Liverpool left, only four players have more Premier League assists than him this season. None are defenders.

Getty Images

Fabinho

7/12 Fabinho

Liverpool's "lighthouse" according to assistant manager Pep Lijnders. Vital to the Reds with his ball-winning, passing range and strength.

Getty Images

Kevin de Bruyne

8/12 Kevin de Bruyne

Man City's magic wand. His nine assists are more than double any other Premier League player this season.

AFP via Getty Images

Bernardo Silva

9/12 Bernardo Silva

Scheming, clever, inventive, composed and extremely difficult to stop, whether in midfield or the forward line.

Getty Images

Raheem Sterling

10/12 Raheem Sterling

The ex-Liverpool man has reached another level again this season with a series of composed and clinical displays.

Getty Images

Sergio Aguero

11/12 Sergio Aguero

Just edging out Roberto Firmino, the preferred No. 9 much depends on what you want your striker to do. Most want goals, so that's Aguero in.

Getty Images

Sadio Mane

12/12 Sadio Mane

Perhaps the most in-form player for the table-toppers this season, he's a big-game player with equal parts creativity and goalscoring to his name.

Liverpool FC via Getty Images

“In the last nearly two years it feels like each game we played was the most decisive of the season. There is not one where anyone said ‘You can lose that’.

“Nothing changes, you cannot make games bigger than they are already. It is already a very important game and you cannot make it more important.”

Liverpool’s advantage is such that a draw would probably suit Klopp more than Guardiola, who even when the sides were level on points for the same fixture last October adopted a more conservative approach.

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However, Klopp admits if his players even begin to entertain any defensive or negative thoughts they will be punished.

“You cannot be only offensive but if you are not brave against Man City you have no chance, not even for a point,” he added.

“You have to create, your positioning must be nearly perfect, protection must be perfect, (you should have) different ideas.

“You have to try to adapt to the things your opponent is doing usually and make sure they cannot do that and that can lead to other things.”

The match will also mark the return to Anfield of Liverpool fan Sean Cox, who sustained life-changing injuries in an attack by Roma fans outside the ground in April 2018.

Cox, who was in a coma for a time after the assault, and his family will be hosted by the club, whose Legends side raised £640,000 for the Sean Cox Rehabilitation Trust with a match in Dublin in April.

The news has given Klopp a boost ahead of the game.

Liverpool players hold a message of support for Sean Cox in 2018 (Getty)

“When it happened to Sean it was probably the lowest point for me in my whole time at Liverpool because that is something that should not happen in life and it should not happen around a football game,” said the manager.

“(The fact) we can give him the opportunity to come back to watch a really big game – and he wants to do that – for me, coming from a low point, is one of my highlights since I’ve been here.

“I am really looking forward to it. I hope we can organise for me to see him before the game for a couple of minutes – I really want to.

“We don’t normally sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, we really live that, and in this specific situation it was very important to show that.

“I really hope they (the Cox family) felt that the whole time and they will feel it in the future and we can help them in this recovery.”

PA

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