As a former Liverpool player with big ambitions to become a coach, Dirk Kuyt is a huge admirer of Jurgen Klopp.
But when it comes down to producing beautiful football even when you have been stripped of your best players, the Dutchman believes Pep Guardiola is in a league of his own.
Kuyt, 40, quit his role in Feyenoord’s academy during the week – and would one day love to return to England in a management role.
And while Sunday’s clash between Klopp’s Liverpool and Guardiola’s Manchester City will revive memories of when Kuyt scored a last-minute winner at the Etihad to complete a stunning Reds’ comeback, the former striker will be looking to the future as he watches the drama unfold.
Kuyt said: “What is so special about Klopp is that first he did it all with Dortmund, a massive club in Germany, and now he has done exactly the same at Liverpool.
“In my eyes he has worked for the two clubs that suit him so much. He is the personification of Dortmund and Liverpool.
“When you mention Klopp’s name you do so in the same breath as Liverpool Football Club.
“On top of this, he is also one of the best performing managers of the last decade.”
Yet Klopp has struggled with the loss of players like Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
And as Liverpool have faltered, Guardiola’s men have stormed to the top of the table with nine successive wins – despite being without record scorer Sergio Aguero and assist king Kevin De Bruyne.
Kuyt said: “Guardiola is a coach who inspires me.
“Pep is still relatively young, but when I see what he has created at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now again at Manchester City, it is incredible.
“Guardiola is the inspiration for many coaches because of what he is doing right now despite missing his two best players, De Bruyne and Agureo.
“He is using his creativity to adapt to the situation of his team.
“Jose Mourinho says you can’t replace Harry Kane at Spurs and people say Van Dijk is missed so much at Liverpool.
“But Guardiola has an ability to change his system so that even the players who are supposed to be unmissable players are not missed.”
Kuyt feels that any result other than a Liverpool win will make it impossible for Klopp to retain the title.
A City win would take the Blues 10 points clear of the champions, having played a game less.
And Kuyt believes Liverpool will have to produce the same legendary spirit that saw him crown a famous comeback at the Etihad in October 2008.
He recalled: “I remember how well City played in the first half and how we were sitting in the dressing room at half-time losing 2-0.
“But the great thing about Liverpool is this big spirit. The club can climb out of any hole and come back from the most difficult situations.
“We got back in the game. It was 2-2 and then in the dying seconds, I scored the winner.
“This was so very typical Liverpool. Never give up, always fight for a result. It is one of my sweetest memories.
“If Liverpool want to compete for the title they have to win this game against City.
“This is do or die. But these are the moments when Liverpool are at their best.”