Premier League – The clash Manchester City – Liverpool, a rivalry without hostility

Since 2018, no title of champion of England escapes them. However, if we are completely honest, we remember that the silverware made in the Premier League mainly adorns the cabinets of Manchester City, since the men of Pep Guardiola have won the timpani three times in the last four seasons. Liverpool, which finally unlocked itself after thirty years of waiting, collected the other laurels available, in 2020.

Spring 2022 will be no exception to the rule. Once again, we will find Manchester City or Liverpool on the throne of the Kingdom of England, at the end – we hope – of a mano a mano in 2019 fashion (note: City had been crowned with 98 points in the meter, Liverpool finished at 97). The two teams, again launched in a neck and neck to make fans and other followers of Ligue 1 or the Bundesliga pale, are currently only separated by a small unit. Advantage City, eight days from the gong. But the wind is blowing very hard behind the Reds.

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A short distance from their second duel of the season (which will have at least three with the half of the Cup next Saturday), the atmosphere is calm, serene, relaxed. Like always. Because if Manchester City – Liverpool has become the real shock of the kingdom, that it has outdated a Manchester United – Arsenal which was the salt of the PL for many years, it remains limited to the field and to the sportsman. The rivalry exists. Sweet, that one. And not spicy, even if when it’s not one who wins, it’s the other. Why ?

City and Liverpool are so focused on United…

The first reason is simple. You’re usually dealing with twenty-two clean, well-mannered guys and two managers, Pep Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp, different but respectful of each other’s work. Friday’s press conferences once again confirmed this. Klopp opened the ball of compliments: “I think Nadal and Federer enjoyed the rivalry they had. That’s how it is in sport. I wouldn’t say I’m grateful that City are so good, but it hasn’t hurt our development. . Pep is the best manager in the world and we all agree on that. If anyone still doubts him…”

Response from the Catalan a few minutes later: “These two teams are the two best in the last five years. I have said many times what I think of Liverpool, how admirable they are. Jürgen is as a manager the biggest rival I have had in my career and I think what both teams offer, the way they play, is good for football.”

Pep Guardiola (Manchester City) and Jürgen Klopp (FC Liverpool)

Credit: Getty Images

“There is no vice between the two teams, confirms Philippe Auclair, our eye for English football. Liverpool and Manchester City are not mean teams. City have a sometimes cynical side, but there is almost a mutual respect between the two.” No Roy Keane or Patrick Vieira to climb the towers. No Wenger or Ferguson on the benches for glare or blushing.

If Liverpool and Manchester City compete on the field without shooting each other in the legs, it is also and above all because of their respective history and despite a proximity which nevertheless remains the best breeding ground for rivalry. Even the advent of the new rich City has not wavered the historic Liverpool and its supporters. Both have other fish to fry. Another, more precisely: Manchester United.

“Liverpool’s rival is Manchester United. Manchester City’s is Manchester United too. Historically, there’s nothing in between, recalls Philippe Auclair. The two clubs mean nothing to each other. There is however only 50 kilometers of distance between the two cities. But City and Liverpool are so focused on United…”

Footballingly splendid

The few times City found themselves at the top before the arrival of Abu Dhabi, notably in the late 1960s, the Reds had not yet become the ogre that would take everything, on the island and the continent. at the crossroads of the 70s and 80s. During the era of the omnipotence of the Scousers, City yielded to the fashion of the yoyo. D1, D2, D1, D2, D3… and found themselves completely overshadowed by United. If the Red Devils are now very far from the mark, mired in their sporting contradictions and their costly casting errors, the Mancunian giant remains the common target of both. Liverpool, for reasons of age-old supremacy. Manchester City, by complex. Inferiority before. Superiority now.

“From the stands, it almost looks like an American football rivalry, further advances our correspondent. We are at degree zero of hostility between the two. We had seen him in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in 2018. The atmosphere at Anfield was fantastic that evening, but he had simply put himself in Europe mode. It was not related to any animosity towards City.”

Even when it could possibly have degenerated, as after the Mancunians inflicted 5-0 on the Reds in 2017 and the expulsion of Sadio Mané for a terrifying gesture on Ederson, history had left no other trace than on the Brazilian doorman’s face. The Senegalese apologized and everything was forgotten. “It lacks a bit of spice, concludes Philippe Auclair. That’s probably why it’s splendid on a footballing level.” We can not have everything.

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