The last few years of English football have been dominated by two teams; Manchester City and Liverpool. City have been the self-described “Kings of England” for the last decade, winning more Premier League titles than any other team and setting a record when they became the first team to score 100 points.
Liverpool, on the other hand, have seen a resurgence over the last two seasons that few had seen coming. After a 30 year drought of league titles, the reds looked like they would win the Premier League in 2018-19, but were beaten by a single point by City.
Returning for 2019-20, Liverpool have won all but one of their games all season, and have been undefeated for more than 12 months. If they continue at their current rate (and most pundits don’t see them slowing down), Liverpool could end the season with 112 points. Just two short of the maximum available.
Battle of the Managers
This makes the managers of these teams two of the most important people in the Premier League. They have a lot of influence on the outcome of the games, and deserve a lot of credit for building the dominant sides at Anfield and the Etihad Stadium.
Both managers have spent several years building the perfect team, and each has a unique style of play that works for them.
Klopp joined Liverpool in October 2015. For several seasons he bided his time, trading players to create the squad that compliments his management style. This style is a lot more aggressive than many other managers opt for in the Premier League.
As soon as a Liverpool player loses possession of the ball the team works to regain it from their opponents. This contrasts to most other teams who fall back and regroup before attempting to regain control.
Being aggressive in this way creates more opportunities to take a shot at goal. It also means that teams struggle playing against them as they are not used to this style of play. By maintaining possession as much as possible, Liverpool can control the game in the way that they want.
Klopp’s style has turned Liverpool into a dominant force that has gone undefeated in the Premier League for over a year. This performance has given Liverpool very favourable football betting odds for every match they play, and made most fans and pundits already believe that the Reds will be crowned winners of the Premier League this season.
Guardiola has a different style. He makes his players stick to their position until the final third of the game. After this, the players get some creative freedom to do what is needed to win.
This creates trust between players, as they must have faith in each other to fulfill their responsibilities in their positions. It also shows that Guardiola trusts his players to be creative.
He has also signed a lot of players that have helped the team. At City, he has had almost bottomless pockets for buying players thanks to the club’s wealthy owners. He’s picked well with players like Bernado Silva and Ederson Santana de Moraes.
Liverpool vs Manchester City is not the first time Klopp and Guardiola have gone head to head. They also clashed while managing German sides, when Klopp was in charge of Borussia Dortmund and Guardiola was managing Bayern Munich.
Klopp won two Bundesliga titles, the DFL-Supercup twice, and the DFB-Pokal. Meanwhile, Guardiola won three Bundesliga titles, two DFB-Pokal titles, the UEFA Super Cup, and the FIFA Club World Cup.
They were evenly matched when their sides met on the pitch. Each side winning four games, and each scoring 12 goals against the other side.
Things have changed slightly though. In England, Klopp’s Liverpool has won more of the games when they’ve played City, and scored more goals.
Klopp is definitely Guardiola’s biggest opponent in European football. He has given away fewer points to Guardiola than any other manager, beating Jose Mouringo, Arsene Wenger, and Mauricio Pochettino.
It seems those stats are only going to keep swinging towards Klopp for the foreseeable future too as Liverpool seem to be unstoppable.