At the turn of the calendar year, pundits and fans alike were all resigned with the fact that Manchester City was running away with yet another Premier League title. Liverpool and Chelsea both had stumbles during the extremely busy December while Manchester City just ground out boring result after boring result like an automaton.
But then something unusual happened. Liverpool, who have generally struggled during January and February under Jürgen Klopp, began to string together win after win despite missing Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. And Manchester City, for their part, saw bobbles against Southampton and Spurs.
Those results combined have seen Liverpool climb back within three points a couple of times, with a head to head match up at the Etihad still to come. After shellacking Manchester United in a derby match (I mean, who doesn’t these days), that saw Manchester City go back up six points, though with Liverpool having a game in hand, Pep Guardiola was asked about the title challenge from the Reds. Unlike Klopp, who has downplayed the tightening at the top of the table, Guardiola instead decided to heap praise on his opponents.
“Liverpool is the toughest opponent I’ve ever faced in my 12, 13 years as a manager,” said Guardiola.
“Liverpool in the past few years have been outstanding. To fight with them, and be with them means after big success in domestic trophies and titles, this is the biggest achievement as a manager I’ve done in my career.”
"The toughest opponent I've ever faced in my twelve, thirteen years as a manager."— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 6, 2022
Pep Guardiola on the competition between Manchester City and Liverpool pic.twitter.com/QkO7Ue74YF
This isn’t the first time recently that Guardiola has lauded Klopp’s Liverpool side. A couple of weeks ago, he jokingly called Liverpool “a pain in the ass all of the time”
It seems that the Manchester City manager yet again has Liverpool on his mind. In that vein, up the pain in the ass Reds!