City again, do we play every week? Seems like only yesterday when Bobby was slotting past Ederson on our way to a Champions League double, seems like everywhere we turn, they are there. Feels like I have lived this before, with another team, who had the self-proclaimed best manager in the world? Spending money like it was going out of fashion? Taking all the best players around Europe? No? Don’t remember? Oh, that’s it. Chelsea. When Jesper Grønkjær scored the winner against Liverpool at the bridge on the last day of the 2004 season, who thought it would be the start of a rivalry with two clubs which defined an era. Ghost goal, (defo over the line Jose lad, not arsed) Gerrards own goal, Gerrards slip (fuck me, still gives me nightmares) Dirk Kuyt penalty, Riise OG, Torres getting sold to them, FA Cup Semis, FA cup finals, I could go on. For the best part of 7-8 years, if Liverpool was going to do anything, they had to overcome Chelsea. To me, the similarities with the Chelsea rivalry and this one with Man City is uncanny. The media lauded Chelsea, like they do City. The poor man’s Steven Gerrard, Makelele, Duff, Robben, Drogba, Carvalho, the team was immense. They are one of the best squads ever assembled in premier league history. De Bruyne, Sterling, Sane, Aguero, Kompany. That squads not bad either.
The rivalry started long before Liverpool vs Man City was deciding huge games of football. It started with the managers. Klopp and Pep are the 2 of the best managers in the world today. They have got to that level in 2 very different paths. Klopp at Mainz, missing out on promotion by a point one season, and on goal difference the next, took 3 seasons to get them promoted to the Bundesliga. Pep being groomed in the Barcelona B set up, with a huge trophy cabinet from his playing days. It feels like the rich vs the poor. The have’s vs the have nots. Jurgen molding players such as Lewandowski, Hummels and Rues. Pep buying readymade stars like Cesc Fabregas, Javier Masherano (bastard, I loved that crazy argentine) and Zlatan (yeah remember him? The one player Pep couldn’t get right) They both eventually ended up at the two biggest clubs in Germany, and are now starting the descent on English football
League cup final 1st season for Klopp, he ran into Pep. City win on Pens but that was just the start. We knew in a couple of years it was going to be like this, they were both moving at a rapid speed. Last year was the first time we looked and thought “these are the two best teams in England” They put 5 past us last year when we were down to 10 men, with a defense like a chocolate fireguard. We folded like a broken deck chair. Then came January, Liverpool had some form, this curly headed guy called Mo Salah was flying, Mane wasn’t kicking goal keepers heads off, Chambo looking like a footballer and not just an Instagram star. We beat them 3 times in 2 months, scoring 9 goals. We were the first team to beat them in the Premier league and knocked them out the champions league with relative ease. A rivalry had begun.
Pep just can’t past Liverpool or Klopp, he can’t get one over us. He knows that we are the only team who can stop him from Man City retaining the Premier league, something they have never done. This is different though, this is a rivalry based on mutual respect, the managers do get on, unlike Jose and Rafa. They have players I quite like, (not that prick Sterling though, he can fuck off). This rivalry is not going away anytime soon, as long both men are the managers of the respected clubs, we are going to be in massive games against them year after year. It’s inevitable. Is it too early to say this is a title decider? It might be, but to be 3 points clear, when we have been away to Spurs, Chelsea and Palace on a Monday night? It’s not bad. City have played the last 6 promoted teams. They need to go to these places, and win. They can do it of course, but I’d rather be in Liverpool’s position right now.
Those Chelsea games are ingrained into my memory, you spoke about them two months before you played them. I will be telling my kids about Chambo hitting that peach against them last year. That’s what football is all about. Memories. Things that you talk about time and time again, you don’t remember family vents that well, weddings, christenings, but you remember special games of football. These two teams provide it time after time. So, enjoy it, strap in, check their results at every given turn, prey that De Bruyne doesn’t come back in the same form. It’s what makes it, and if we are looking back in May, after winning the premier league, Mums, Dads, Uncles, Gran parents will all remember it. Tears, laughter, nerves. This is what following a football team is about, making memories, and these two teams will give us that
And even after everything, both sets of fans can agree on one thing… The guy down the road is not that special anymore.