Pep Guardiola has provided a very nice tactical explanation of why Liverpool are such a dangerous opponent – and one he claims are the best he’s ever faced while a club football manager.
Manchester City are our biggest sporting rivals – and the tussles between Jurgen Klopp and Guardiola have become legendary – like those between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson at the start of the century.
Klopp currently has the upper hand as the reigning Champions League and Premier League holder – and in fairness to Pep – he’s recognised this.
“The toughest opponent I’ve ever faced in my career is this Liverpool from last year and this one,” Guardiola told DAZN, cited in Goal.
“If you let yourself be dominated, they lock you in the area and you can’t escape. When you dominate them, they run into space like no one else. They are very fast going backwards. They are very strong strategically. Their players have great mental strength. [Klopp] is the rival who has made me think about how to beat him the most.
“I have always said that Real Madrid are a very strong team in my career, they helped me to become a better coach with tough matches and competitions with Jose Mourinho, [Manuel] Pellegrini and all the coaches they had,” he added.
“If you ask me which has been the most difficult rival for me to face, it has been Liverpool. The first years when I arrived in England, Liverpool were a bit weaker than now and Real Madrid were stronger. Now, this Liverpool are the hardest I have come across in my coaching career.”
City will strengthen their squad this summer, but they’ll also be without David Silva next term and Leroy Sane, who has joined Bayern Munich.
What’s more, they will have basically zero pre-season as they’re still in Europe.
Obviously we’d rather be in the knockout stages of the Champions League ourselves, but the fact the players will not get a rest is obviously beneficial to our chances in 2020/21.