Pep Guardiola clarifies painful Liverpool truth as comments work both ways – Theo Squires
Pep Guardiola was asked which team posed the biggest threat to his side’s hopes of doing better in Man City’s pursuit of an elusive first European Cup in February, speaking after the 5-0 win at his team on Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League. 16. Inevitably, he didn’t have to look far to find his answer.
“Liverpool. They are six points behind us. Liverpool are the biggest rivals of the past seasons. Still there,” he said. “They are a pain in the ass all the time.”
As Jurgen Klopp’s side prepare for a third Champions League final in five years, the Man City boss has certainly proven himself right over the past three months, having seen his side knocked out by Real Madrid in the semis. -final at the beginning of the month. . And not just in Europe, but also in the Premier League, with Liverpool once again cementing their place as City’s biggest rivals this year.
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After the Reds’ victory over Southampton on Tuesday night, the Premier League title race went down to the final day of the season, with Liverpool just a point behind Man City they are, once again, ‘still there’ “. But if they hurt Guardiola’s ass, then Klopp certainly knows that feeling for himself.
For the second time in four years, the Reds head into the final day just one point behind Man City. For the second time in four years, they host Wolves knowing they must win while hoping to drop City points if they are to snatch the Premier League title. And for the second time in four years, regardless of the outcome of the title race, they must start again, this time less than a week later, in the Champions League final while a potential double disappointment or the perfect pick is looking back at me. them.
It was the most extraordinary season for the Reds as they chase an unprecedented four-fold. Having already secured a domestic cup double, they are only 10 days away from potentially achieving the previously impossible.
Of course, for that to happen the stars need to line up at Anfield and the Etihad on Sunday, with Man City taking on Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa – a side containing both Philippe Coutinho and Danny Ings. But they know that’s more of a hope than an expectation as they yearn for favors from old friends.
Having missed out on the title by just one point in 2018/19, finishing with 97 points after losing just one game, Liverpool know 93 points might not be enough for the title this year. Without City, Klopp’s side would have won so much more. Guardiola’s men are a pain in the ass.
It was painful to miss out on the title by such a small margin in 2019, especially after recording the club’s best league season, but the Reds rose to win the Champions League final and voice their national disappointment. . A year later, they ended their 30-year wait to be crowned champions of England.
There was so much to go on that 2019 showdown with Tottenham Hotspur in Madrid following that league loss as Klopp sought to deliver on his promise to turn doubters into believers once and for all. Now, four years later, Liverpool fans still believe that, against all odds, an unprecedented four-fold could be on the way.
Yet despite that deja vu, the feeling is rather different now than in 2019. Back then, fans were desperate to win that first Premier League title. Touch it, smell it, taste it. The thought of missing a single point again would have been too much to bear.
But that could now be their reality in 2022, after goals from Takumi Minamino and Joel Matip saw them beat Southampton to close the gap again. Still, if the gap remains one point at the final whistle on Sunday, rather than lament once more under such circumstances, the Reds will ignore and walk away.
They know that their efforts this season prove that they will fight for the title again next season. Guardiola knows they will come back for him.
After falling 14 points in January, the Reds’ resurgence in the second half of the season has been superb. Whatever the outcome from now on, be it a double, triple or quadruple season, their supporters can be proud of Klopp’s team’s efforts and excited for the future.
They are lucky to end the season on a high with a seventh European Cup victory in Paris on May 28 of course, as they seek revenge against Real Madrid. But first they will try to be a pain in the ass for Guardiola again on Sunday.
They are still there.