It’s only fitting that another campaign kicks off with Liverpool taking on Man City, with English football’s great rivalry opening another chapter in 2022/23.
It’s a funny old rivalry that one.
Liverpool and Man City have unquestionably set the standard in English football over the past five years and maintained an unprecedented pace until Guardiola and Klopp arrived in the North West.
When Man City broke the points record to become the Premier League’s first centurions in 2018, you would have been forgiven for assuming this season had to be the most outlier.
What has happened instead is that the bar has been raised to a level that, so far, only themselves and Liverpool have been able to live with.
Subsequent counts have included 98, 97, 99, 93, and 92 points.
Breaking 90 has become the norm for these teams and managers, and has transformed the prism through which title races are viewed.
So where does this period of dominance leave the City-Liverpool enmity? Where’s the beef?
Jamie Carragher has received some backlash for comments he made in April where he argued that the rivalry between Liverpool and City was “the biggest in English football”.
From a purely footballing point of view, it’s a reasonable argument, but many were quick to point out the animosity between Keane and Vieira, between Ferguson and Wenger, throughout the 2000s.
Arsenal and United fans were unwilling to accept this one, practically joining hands in a bid to dispel the position.
Amid half a decade of battling it out for the top honours, there is certainly some mutual respect, especially between the two managers.
Pep and Klopp first locked horns in Germany and are widely accepted as two of the greatest managers this generation has seen.
All that said, there is an inescapable feeling that, despite all the success, members of City’s squad, fan base and hierarchy have a bit of a bee in their hood when it comes to Liverpool. .
In 2019, there was a bizarre instance where a vocal part of the playing team and staff were filmed signing City’s rendition of “Allez Go Go” on a flight home from their title win at Brighton.
It was an unpleasant song with noticeable overtones towards Hillsborough and Sean Cox.
Guardiola then apologized for the song and said it was not intended to offend, but the very fact that Liverpool were on the players’ minds at a time of such jubilation offers an intriguing glimpse into the psyche of the players. involved persons.
Where does it come from? The term “rent-free” is overused, especially on social media, in an often unnecessarily pejorative way to describe clubs or individuals who are overly concerned about other people’s business.
The way Guardiola and some of his peers have performed in recent years, however, suggests something about Liverpool is slipping under their skin.
Two weeks after this video was released, Liverpool won their sixth European Cup in Madrid, undoing some elements of these lyrics.
There were plenty of people linked to City who were visibly hurt by the relative lack of coverage around their Centurion, the title-winning side against Liverpool’s run in Europe, and it seems four years later some are unable to shake it up.
Guardiola’s suggestion in May that “everyone in this country supports Liverpool, the media and everyone”, was equally fascinating.
It’s a theory that can easily be debunked. Liverpool receive more positive press than City because, rightly or wrongly, it’s a bigger story.
Liverpool’s vast global fanbase means more people read stories about Liverpool than about Man City.
The idea that everyone supports Liverpool is baseless. Football media is a business like any other industry, and there are a few clubs that generate more interest (and clicks) than the Reds. In the end, that’s what pays off.
Is it reciprocal? If you were to ask the fans, chances are the vast majority would tell you that Everton and Man United are always the first teams they look for when the matches are released.
Not because Liverpool fans are unaware of City’s brilliance and the fact that they are clearly the biggest threat to future success, but largely because that’s how it’s always been. summer.
History matters in conversations like this.
At the same time, it would be remiss not to be somewhat concerned about City. It’s a winning machine with an amazing manager and group of players.
It goes without saying that without Guardiola’s side, this era of Liverpool could have yielded a trophy that would surpass anything in the club’s history.
These two teams have needed each other to reach the heights they have, heights not seen in the Premier League era.
And it’s far from over.
These two clubs are set to go head-to-head again, both domestically and at European level, looking to get the upper hand on each other.
Guardiola has reportedly agreed, in principle at least, to stay in charge until the summer of 2025, and Klopp recently committed to an extension until the summer of 2026.
The footballing rivalry Carragher refers to shows no signs of letting up.
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