When you talk about history, Liverpool vs Manchester City fixture doesn’t hold much importance. If you google it, you won’t find a Wikipedia page dedicated to this rivalry. However, if you talk about another side of Manchester (Manchester United) it would tell a completely different story. But skipping from England’s oldest and fiercest rivalry, today we will talk about this new rivalry taking shape in England. And tomorrow with their first meeting in Uefa Champions League quarterfinal tie, it will become bigger.
This game has everything to offer. You talk about tactics, playing style, managers’ confrontation, the atmosphere at the ground, it has got everything. The only thing missing was European stage for their game. Uefa Champions League 2017/18 quarterfinal tie offered that stage to them.
Oh… My… Days… I’m absolutely bricking it for tomorrow. Such a massive match, I know we CAN beat them, but shit am I worried whether we WILL beat them. Please. For the love of god @LFC, just don’t mess this up. I’m begging! #LIVMCI #UCL pic.twitter.com/UxX3SSTwCS
— Alexander Liu (@alexjialeliu) April 2, 2018
The rivalry was already brewing between the two sides as City marginally grabbed the Premier League title in 2013/14. Liverpool finished second despite sitting at the top with five points lead till 35th match day. Then arrived Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool in Oct 2015 and grabbed a league double over City winning 1-4 away and 3-0 at home. However, City took revenge with League Cup final victory over the Reds that season.
“For this team we need to be proud of our history but we have to create our own history.” ?
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 3, 2018
The brewing rivalry became intense with the arrival of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City’s helm. The 2016/17 season become the battle of managerial prowess in Premier League. There was Antonio Conte at Chelsea helm, Mauricio Pochettino at Spurs, Pep Guardiola at City, Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, Arsene Wenger already there with Arsenal and arrival of Jose Mourinho at Manchester United. However, low key Antonio Conte won the Premier League with Chelsea, it was Klopp vs Guardiola and Mourinho vs Guardiola battle grabbed the limelight.
Mourinho lost his way due to his defensive and ugly winning football, and Klopp vs Guardiola takes the center stage with their attacking and attractive football. In 2016/17 battle wasn’t much decided with Liverpool winning 1-0 at home and then drew 1-1 at Etihad Stadium.
A win was due for Pep Guardiola to prove his superiority and he proved earlier in 2017/18 season with the 5-0 hammering of the Reds in September. Klopp accepted the defeat but his side played with a man down for sixty minutes of the game. He answered his familiar nemesis outplaying them 4-3 at Anfield later.
Premier League battle has already proved that battle is already on between the two. They produce two great matches with even result and 12 goals were scored on aggregate. Now with Champions League tie, fans have got two more matches to entertain themselves with their tactical battle.
European stage is bigger than the Premier League and it definitely adds a different dimension to their rivalry. It will make their rivalry bigger because they are competing in Europe and winner will prove their superiority moving ahead in the competition.
Jurgen Klopp may say that his side is underdogs against Guardiola’s Manchester City, but history tells a different story. They are leading the battle in 159 matches played b/w them. Liverpool has won 75 and lose only 42 against the Citizens. In Champions League, they have a rich history as well. They are five-time European champions whereas City still hunting for their first European glory. They came close in 2015/16 season reaching to the semifinal and losing on 1-0 aggregate against the eventual champion Real Madrid.
Pep Guardiola at Manchester City may have a better team but Klopp has everything in his arsenal to match him. Klopp himself said, “In specific moments, we are on a similar level but they do it much more consistently. That’s why they have around 20 points more than us in Premier League. No problem with respecting that, but we all know, in that game, it doesn’t mean too much. We see our chance but we know it will be unbelievably difficult.”
German has also urged his team to make their own history despite having a rich history in the competition in past. He said, “This club is already full of history and we have to write our own. I meet people who can tell me each goal Liverpool scored 37 years ago. This club needs to be proud of our history but we need to create our own history. I did that a lot in the past with my former teams. At one point you need to do your own things. The boys are ready and are really looking forward to it.”
Guardiola has tasted the Champions League success before. He has won it twice with Barcelona and he knows what it takes to win the European title. The atmosphere at ground alone doesn’t make much difference; you need a solid team to be victorious in these European games.
Both managers are vying for their first substantial title. Whereas Guardiola has already in bag his first Premier League title as points table suggests, Klopp can make history if he delivers Uefa Champions League glory to Liverpool as his first trophy.