Manchester City vs Liverpool: The top five games of the Pep Guardiola/Jurgen Klopp era
Jurgen Klopp vs Pep Guardiola. There are few better rivalries than this one. These two greats of the game have dominated the footballing landscape in Spain, Germany and now in England.
Of course, it is Pep who, for the most part, has come out on top in both Germany and England, but it remains clear that despite their contrasting styles, Klopp and Pep are two of the best, arguably even the best, managers of their generation.
And luckily for fans of the English game, these two behemoths have been battling it out in the Premier League for nearly six seasons now.
Jurgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool in October of 2015, with Pep linking up with the Sky Blues just under a year later.
It took both managers some time to adjust to their new sides, with Klopp undergoing a complete overhaul of what was, at best, a Europa League squad, whilst Pep needed a season to implement his style and find the right personnel for his system.
Manchester City & Liverpool’s dominance highlighted
Since the 2017/18 campaign though, Liverpool and Manchester City have monopolized the English top-flight’s title picture.
Manchester City have emerged as champions from three of the last four Premier League seasons, with Liverpool of course taking the crown in the remaining campaign.
It is not just in silverware, though, where these two colossi have overshadowed all others.
Since the 2017/18 campaign, Guardiola and Klopp’s men have claimed 438 and 412 points respectively from 182 matches. In Man City’s case, that’s 100 more than any other Premier League team.
The pair are also the only two sides to average over two points per game in that time (2.41 for City, 2.26 for Liverpool)
To highlight the two side’s dominance, Manchester United are their nearest rivals from the same period with a rate of 1.86 points per game.
Elsewhere, Man City’s 456 goals and Liverpool’s 403 goals since 2017/18 dwarfs their nearest competitor – Tottenham with 322 – whilst the pair also have the two best defensive records in England from the same period, with the Citizens shipping 135 and Liverpool 155 in their last 182 matches.
So, given how impressive the pair have been over the last several years and with Sunday’s game likely a title-deciding matchup, it only seems fitting that we look back at some of the best battles between Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City and Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
Manchester City vs Liverpool betting tips: Premier League preview, predictions & odds
Liverpool 1-Manchester City 4 (February 2021)
A game to forget for the Liverpool faithful but one that will go down in infamy nonetheless.
2020/21, of course, saw Liverpool looking to defend their first-ever Premier League crown. However, after a spate of injury issues, the Reds’ title defence was up in smoke before Christmas.
So, when the pair met for this clash, Liverpool were down in 4th and were forced to deploy a centre-back pairing of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho. As expected, it did not end well for Liverpool, in large part due to the woeful display of Alisson that saw the Brazilian gift City their second and third goals on the day.
The game finished 4-1 and meant Liverpool had lost three constructive home league matches for the first time since September of 1963. It was also the first time that the Merseysiders had conceded four goals in one half of a league game at Anfield since the visit of Arsenal in 1952.
Liverpool 3-Manchester City 1 (November 2019)
Whilst the previous game was one to forget for Liverpool fans, this clash will no doubt go down in history as it, of course, came about in Liverpool’s title-winning campaign.
The two sides had fought until the final day of the season in 2018/19 for the title, but there was no such race this time around.
Manchester City – who had yet to sign Ruben Dias – lost Aymeric Laporte for much of 2019/20 and were also without Ederson for this game, were completely outdone on the day by some vintage Liverpool counterattacking.
Fabinho opened the scoring with a stunning long-range effort before Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Mohamed Salah combined to make it 2-0. The game was then put to bed by Sadio Mane after 51 minutes with Bernardo Silva’s 78th-minute strike little more than a consolation.
The result saw Liverpool go eight points clear of City at the top of the PL and set the pace for the remainder of 2019/20 as Klopp and co. galloped towards their first-ever Premier League title.
Manchester City 5-Liverpool 0 (September 2017)
As mentioned above, Liverpool and Manchester City have the two best defensive records in the top-flight since the 2017/18 campaign.
However, it was not until 2018 – following the purchases of Virgil van Dijk (January 2018) and Alisson (July 2018), that Liverpool were truly able to sure up their shaky backline.
Before this, the Reds were subject to one hell of a beating from Guardiola’s City. A defence of Simon Mignolet, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ragnar Klavan and Alberto Moreno shipped five to a Manchester City who went on to clinch a record-setting 100 points in the PL that season.
The game, which saw Sadio Mane sent off after 37 minutes, was arguably Liverpool’s lowest moment of the Klopp/Pep era but one of Man City’s best.
Liverpool 4-Manchester City 3 (January 2018)
After being subjected to a 5-0 hammering at the hands of City earlier in the season, Liverpool got their own back in the reverse fixture later in the campaign.
Jurgen Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ football was at its pique in this tie as the Reds ran riot but were still open defensively, nearly allowing Man City a late route back into the game with a late flurry of goals from Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan.
Of course, Liverpool went on to win 4-3 and it was a sign that the rivalry, which had been fairly one-sided until this point, was beginning to lean in Klopp’s favour.
It was also one of just two league games City lost during their historic 2017/18 campaign and a loss that saw their 30-match unbeaten streak in the PL come to an end.
Manchester City 2-Liverpool 1 (January 2019)
The final game on this list is the lowest scoring but it was, much like Sunday’s outing has the potential to be, a title-deciding match.
Despite it taking place midway through a season, the game, and one moment in particular, will live in Premier League history.
Manchester City went on to win the match 2-1 but, before a goal had been scored, John Stones cleared the ball off Ederson’s goal line by the narrowest of margins.
Liverpool were 11 millimetres from taking the lead at Man City.
What a clearance from John Stones 👏🏾 pic.twitter.com/n1zlwnmlVU
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) January 3, 2019
Had Stones not done so, it is fair to assume Liverpool could have gone on to draw or win that meeting. However, they did not and, come the end of the 2018/19 season, Man City pipped Liverpool to the title by a single point, making that Stones clearance arguably the most important bit of defending from his entire career to date.
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