Let’s get a few things straight: Manchester City are a phenomenal team. Kevin de Bruyne is the best midfielder in the Premier League and Pep Guardiola is a football genius.
I make absolutely no bones about this. City were jaw-dropping last season and are deserved favourites for 2018/19.
But for the brilliant to Belgian to claim other teams are now spending extravagantly and above City’s capability is ridiculous.
“The main focus is on us. The other teams are always going to push us, Liverpool did what we did last year. They have spent a lot of money but wisely,” De Bruyne told BBC Sport.
“They needed some additions and they have got them in the right places. They saw that they had to up the level to come closer to us and we are trying to maintain what we have done last year. It will be a good battle between the top sides.
“The top six is always challenging. I don’t make a difference between any team. Liverpool spent the most this year, but last year it was us and Manchester United. Now there are other teams in the Premier League who spend more than us, they have to do what they have to do to be better.”
It’s by no means an even keel, though, like De Bruyne suggests. Against Arsenal on opening day, all four of City’s defenders cost over £50m. Since 2014/15, City’s net spend is over £500m, five times more than Liverpool’s.
And that’s before mentioning wage bills and signing on fees, which we can guarantee are significantly higher at the Etihad.
So yes, Liverpool have spent – but the money has been earned from player sales, a run to the Champions League Final and from FSG running the club by not lavishing on arrivals since Jurgen Klopp’s arrival.
The rhetoric now that Liverpool are ‘big spenders’ is simply not true. This article will perfectly explain why.
If we’re going to beat De Bruyne’s City, it’ll be as massive underdogs.