Liverpool vs. City

A Great Modern Rivalry

When the final whistle blew on Sunday, all I could do was let out a breath. Once again Manchester City and Liverpool played out an epic that even the best script writers couldn’t replicate. Drama, intensity, and even (once again) controversy surrounded the match. Neutral fans and pundits raved about it. It was another thrilling installment in one of the sport’s greatest modern rivalries. However, it is also overshadowed due to being possibly the final installment of what truly took the rivalry to the next level. Klopp vs Guardiola. It got me thinking about just how fascinating this rivalry has been and to consider whether it will live on after Jurgen and then Pep depart.

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Defining Moments

Firstly, let’s look back at the matches that have defined this rivalry. In Klopp’s first full season, 2016-17, Liverpool took 4 points off City, holding off City on New Year’s Eve 1-0, before playing out a sensational (you guessed it) 1-1 draw.

Then who can forget the 4-3 in January of 2018? For me, that’s the moment Liverpool stamped themselves as the team that would battle City for supremacy going forward.

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Sure enough, in 2018-19, one heartbreaking Leroy Sane goal at the Etihad on January 1 is all that separated the two sides and gave City the advantage they needed to take the title.

Liverpool came roaring back in 2019-20 though, pouncing on City and winning 3-1 in truly championship fashion to ensure they would not be denied a title again.

Finally, no one will forget Mo Salah’s incredible goal in October 2021 in the first of two 2-2 draws that City and Liverpool would play during the 21-22 season. The tightest of margins have separated these sides from each other. When at their best, they are rarely able to beat one another.

Scrapping For Silverware

All of that doesn’t even mention the battles they have had in the League Cup, FA Cup, and their famous (infamous?) Champions League tie. Klopp’s and Pep’s men have produced some of the best football matches that the U.K. has ever seen. That has been on display again this season. This is why I ask if the rivalry that has developed between the two clubs will continue when Klopp leaves in the summer.

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These two managers have brought something to this game that was not there before. Yes, I know that Liverpool fans hated what City were/are before Klopp. And before Pep arrived I am aware of what happened in 2013-14. Nevertheless, there is no denying this has become a true footballing rivalry with these two managers at the helm.

The City History May Never Stack Up

For me, Liverpool–City could become the latest in a line of Premier League rivalries that do not truly
transcend the time in which they are at their heights the way that Liverpool–United or the North London Derby does. I think of rivalries like Manchester United–Arsenal or Manchester United–Chelsea in the late 90’s and 2000’s.

These are matches that defined an era of the Premier League but they do not carry the weight that they
once did. Some fans who came of age in that era may think of them in that way, but there is no denying that younger fans right now do not look at those games the way others do.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately I think City–Liverpool may very well fall into that category. This is why Sunday should be celebrated regardless of the result. It is the end of this era’s best Premier
League rivalry and truly it was a joy to witness.

Another Monday of looking for answers as we look at the recent struggles but put all of it in perspective as we talk about the 35th anniversary and what it means to us
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