The revelation Sadio Mané will be absent for six weeks thanks to sustaining a hamstring injury during all those all-important, utterly crucial, wonderfully entertaining international fixtures we have endured over the last fortnight has turned the dark clouds hovering over Merseyside into a full blown tornado of trepidation.

"That makes it easy for Liverpool to set up, because they know - more or less - what they will have to do to contain City. Ultimately it will come down to how much Liverpool can disrupt City.

Guardiola and Klopp faced each other eight times in German football over two years before the latter left Dortmund at the end of the 2014-15 season.

It was City's first defeat of the campaign and six more would follow, two of which Klopp would also inflict to knock Guardiola's side out of the Champions League.

“As I said in my first press conference here, if anybody thinks that I can perform wonders then it could become really difficult in the future, because I can’t.”

Two second-half goals from the substitute Xherdan Shaqiri gave Liverpool a 3-1 Premier League win over Manchester United at Anfield on Sunday as Jürgen Klopp's side regained top spot with a pulsating performance in the north-west derby. 

There is plenty he can do to ensure Mané’s injury is a setback rather than catastrophe.

“I think they’ll be okay but let’s be honest, you could put a case up for every one of those three teams why they would go through.

When asked if the home crowd could help reduce any possible gap between the two sides, Klopp said: "If there was a gap then it always helps. I don't see a gap between Napoli and us.

For a start, today should be the day Klopp pulls aside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and reminds him he is Liverpool’s record signing. Six weeks on from his arrival would be an appropriate moment to start playing a bit of football.

“Our little problem is many other clubs develop as well so it’s never that you improve 20 per cent and the others get 20 per cent weaker.

Klopp said he would learn from the mistakes of last season when Mané was unavailable. Last January Mané went to the Africa Cup of Nations with Liverpool still in both cups and still in the title race. He returned a month later with his side out of all three.

• Liverpool manager calls for improvement after 1-0 win
• ‘We could have done better. It was just the last ball – one touch’

“It’s like a dog – if you don’t give him his favourite toy and you throw something else, he thinks: ‘No, I don’t want that, I want the other one.’ I want to play high press. So that’s how you develop, step by step, doing different things. Now we have to be better in the midfield press.”

In the six matches between the teams since the start of 2016-17, Liverpool have employed a faster, more direct approach when in possession.

Naturally, Klopp will have his own way of getting into mind of the former Arsenal midfielder, but the politest way of putting it would be thus.

The view of Guardiola as an idealist, with only one way of playing, would suggest he will continue with the tactical formula that has proved so successful since the start of last season.

Klopp believes the title race will not be confined to a two-way fight between Liverpool and Manchester City, with Tottenham demonstrating their credentials in a 6-2 demolition of Everton on Sunday.

Irish Captain Rory Best discusses Irelands upcoming 6 Nations game against England...

"Guardiola is a very vain manager and wants to show that his way of doing things is the best and that his team can settle that account that Klopp opened with him," said Honigstein.

Klopp departed the Bundesliga with the tally between him and Pep at four wins apiece. To place this in perspective, Guardiola lost only nine domestic games in total during the two seasons he and Klopp were both managing in Germany.

Scotland are aiming to get their Six Nations campaign off to a good start as they face...

“Nobody wants to look back in 10 or 20 years and say ‘So the best time we had without winning anything was when Klopp was here. It was so funny and all that stuff’.

Given how Liverpool have performed during Mané’s recent absences, there may be a hasty revising of targets for the season ahead. He was their best player last season and his recent three-game suspension demonstrated how sorely his pace and goal threat is missed.

Disaster Jurgen Klopp

His approach didn't work at all in the first meeting between the two last season, which City dominated and won 5-0 at Etihad Stadium, although significantly Liverpool conceded four of those goals after Sadio Mane was sent off in the 37th minute.

Kevin Palmer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed details of the conversations he had with Manchester United chiefs after being handed the interim manager's job following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.

“You cannot win only with offensive football, it’s not possible,” said Klopp, after the 1-0 win at Huddersfield on Saturday. “Because you are open and the pitch is too big for that. So you need to be organised and, on the other side, you need to create. I would love to see us do that a little bit better.”

Klopp was already 10 months into his Liverpool career when Guardiola switched from Munich to Manchester in 2016, rekindling a rivalry that began calmly but last season produced four barnstorming games featuring 18 goals.

At his presentation as Reds boss in October 2015 he pledged to win a title within four years. But after three near-misses, the last in May’s Champions League defeat to Real Madrid, he admits he does not know when that claim will come to fruition.

“I have said it a few times: I have no idea when we will win something, but I’m sure this club will win something,” he said in an interview with Premier League Productions.

The signing of Salah was designed to ensure Liverpool were not too compromised should Mané be missing again.

In those six games, Klopp's side averaged 2.68 passes per passage of play, compared with 4.13 across the 2017-18 season as a whole. They also registered only four sequences of 10 or more passes per game against City, whereas their normal average is 17 sequences per game.

Ireland are hoping to make it a third win in a row against England in the Six Nations...

Two first-half efforts from Milan Pavkov sunk Klopp’s side, who now face two tough tests against PSG and Napoli to save their European hopes.

We urge you to turn off your ad blocker for The Telegraph website so that you can continue to access our quality content in the future.

But containment is not Klopp's way. Like Guardiola, the German is a risk-taker, with a philosophy and tactical vision built around 'gegenpressing' - in essence an extremely high-energy, high press that aims to win the ball back deep in the opponent's half. Against City, he fights fire with fire.

It is why, in All Or Nothing, Guardiola expresses his concern about how quickly Liverpool advance once they get into attacking channels.

‘We have to do even better from now on,’ says manager
Klopp calls Tottenham’s season ‘more than impressive’

Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group

“Here our midfield press wasn’t the problem, it was that we could have done better with the ball. It was really just the last ball – one touch. Everything was fine apart from that.”