Confirmation of Liverpool as Premier League champion has garnered much praise for Jurgen Klopp’s work at Anfield – and much soul searching on behalf of Manchester City’s failed to defend the title. But everything was not fair.
Much of the attention paid Liverpool has been widely deserved. Their form in the past two seasons has been that of worthy Premier League title winners, and the improvements Klopp has made over the past four and a half years have been incredible.
In truth, only City experienced a similar reconstruction at that time, and now both clubs have championship titles to show.
However, some coverage of the Liverpool season has slightly exaggerated their plight, particularly compared to City. It is not a David win against Goliath against all odds, it is a brilliant team beating another brilliant team. And to be a brilliant team these days, you have to spend a lot of money – something that both clubs have done.
Collymore said The mirror : “What Klopp has done in such a short time in Liverpool is incredible.
“Like Mo Salah, Bobby Firmino and Sadio Mane, he turned world-class players into absolute machines, and in Virgil van Dijk, you talk about the best central defender in the world.
“He transformed Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson – a native boy and a stable Eddie signature of £ 8 million – arguably the best side rears in the world. I’m not convinced that Guardiola could have done what Klopp did if things were turned around.
“I always want to take my cap off at Guardiola and City because it has been a tremendous effort on their part this season. They have been an admirable enemy and it is not easy to return to them after successive victories for the title in which you amassed 100, then 98 points.
“But for the winner, the loot and they’re rightly Liverpool this time.”
The argument here is that the recruitment of Liverpool has been better than that of City. So why does Guardiola have two Premier League titles in four seasons compared to a Klopp title in five seasons?
Since arriving at Anfield, Klopp has built a ruthless Liverpool team by overhauling the problematic goalkeeper department, three-quarters of the defense, midfielder and three forward positions. Only James Milner remains in the starting lineup of Klopp’s first Liverpool team leaf in a redesign that has cost just over £ 400m since Klopp’s arrival.
In City, expenses were higher, but Guardiola also improved the majority of his team in all positions. City’s current workforce may have cost around £ 720 million in transfer fees, but Guardiola has spent around £ 530 million.
The fact is that the two managers have improved areas of their teams by spending money, and thus won silverware. It should not be a competition to find out who was the best recruited.
And when City’s Premier League record over the past three seasons is compared to that of Liverpool, their point total is remarkably similar. Since the start of the 2017/18 campaign, City has amassed 261 points, five more than Liverpool (256).
All competitions combined, City had eight trophies at that time and Liverpool four. When you consider City’s national dominance and Liverpool’s European success, it’s hard to separate these two fantastic sides.
Klopp and Guardiola have both built teams that are much better than when they arrived, and we have a chance to watch the pair compete. It also has to be said that the two managers only have respect for each other – something the rest of us should follow.
If Guardiola is only one year old in City, we should embrace the two best managers in the world who are fighting for the same trophies rather than scoring a trivial point on who is the best.