Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp is expecting a difficult game against Manchester City, calling the Premier League leaders favourites and saying theirs is a side that has shown more consistency so far this season than his own.
And, as though to counter him, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is voicing his concerns about trying to shut down Liverpool’s attack and survive the heavy press he knows will be coming for his side when they visit Anfield.
“It’s not just [Mohamed] Salah,” noted Guardiola following his side’s victory over Everton on Saturday as he looked ahed to mid-week. “[Sadio] Mané and [Roberto] Firmino, all three, they are almost unstoppable. They’re fantastic.”
Both managers, both teams, and even both fanbases are heading into the first leg of the Champions League quarter finals in a wary mood, full of respect for their opponents—but also confident that if they play well, they can win.
They also know that mistakes could quickly turn into a lopsided scoreline. It happened to Liverpool the first time they met when Mané picked up a red card and in the second meeting to City, who were discomforted by Liverpool’s press.
It adds up to arguably the toughest of the quarter final ties, at least on paper. At this stage of Europe’s top cup competition, though, there are no easy opponents, and so both sides may be wary—but they’re also relishing the opportunity.
“We lost a bit of control, we were involved in the environment of Anfield,” Guardiola said of that second league meeting. “The way Liverpool play is so complicated for us. We know that. They are so quick, they are so good, and it is tough.
”But it is the quarter-finals of the Champions League so we cannot expect, at that level, that something is going to be easy.”