Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has named Liverpool as his “toughest opponent” after reflecting on the two teams’ victories against Manchester United at Old Trafford in recent weeks.
While the Reds thrashed United 5-0, City delivered an equally dominant display yesterday afternoon, even though they only won 2-0. When asked to compare and contrast the two performances, Guardiola said:
“I know my admiration for Liverpool and the work of Jurgen. It’s the toughest opponent. Still they’re there after six or seven years. The first seasons they struggled a little bit to put the team there, but they settled the team and bought the right players that they needed.”
“Liverpool is there, but we play a different way because I am from Catalonia and he [Klopp] is from Germany. Maybe our mentality as coaches is a different concept. Both Liverpool and City were in control of the Premier League in the last years. It doesn’t matter where we are, it doesn’t matter where we play, we go there to do our game. After the quality, the players do the rest.”
“Liverpool play a false nine with [Roberto] Firmino and we play that with Bernardo [Silva]. The difference is that the wingers they [Liverpool] have play more central and our wingers play wide. Nobody can deny that both teams, it doesn’t matter if in England or in Europe, go there and try to do the game.”
Chelsea are currently top but Guardiola still clearly sees Liverpool as his main rival. The Citizens leapfrogged Jurgen Klopp‘s side in the table after the victory yesterday but the Reds will be able to regain second spot if they secure the three points versus West Ham this evening.
It won’t be an easy match at the London Stadium, with the Hammers having already demonstrated that they can compete with the Premier League’s elite. They knocked City out of the Carabao Cup a couple of weeks ago, and they have beaten both Leicester and Tottenham at home this season.