Man City boss Pep Guardiola has candidly offered the highest praises for Liverpool, conceding that the Reds have been the toughest opponent he has ever faced over the past two seasons, with the Merseyside giants snatching the crown away from Cup holders City this past campaign as they finished 18 points clear.
Last year, the Cityzens set ablaze the league with an incredible winning streak to fend off Jurgen Klopp’s men successfully to defend their Premier League title, but was off the mark behind a resurgent Liverpool who were literally unbeatable this season. Now Guardiola has to put on his thinking cap and figure out how to outsmart them this coming season while Liverpool will look for ways to repeat their feat to add to their league title that was thirty years in the waiting, besides the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup that they’ve won over the past year or so.
Guardiola’s candid and detailed answer as to why the Reds are the toughest opponent that he has ever faced is in itself of the man’s astuteness, integrity and strength of character, and the praise he lavishes on Man City’s toughest domestic rivals will no doubt be cherished and respected by Klopp and his deserving squad most certainly deserve the praise and the accolades lavished on them
“Yes, by a big margin, the toughest rival I have faced in my career was the Liverpool team of last year and this season,” Guardiola told DAZN Spain, as quoted by ESPN.
“It dominates all the records. If you allow them to dominate you, they will cage you in the area and you don’t come out. When you dominate them, they run finding spaces like no one else does.
“They are very fast at going back. They are very strong in terms of strategy. Their players are mentally very strong. It’s the rival that I’ve had to think more about how to beat them.
“If you ask me which team I’ve had more difficulty to decipher and deal with, that’s Liverpool. The first few years when I arrive to England, Liverpool was a little smaller than it is now and Real Madrid was much stronger. Now, this Liverpool is the toughest that I’ve encountered in my career as coach.”
Now it’s a new jigsaw puzzle Guardiola need to figure how fast and the best way that only he can as the coach-cum-manager extraordinaire that even Jurgen Klopp himself has recently openly lauded as the best manager ever.
Only time will tell if Guardiola finds the answers this summer to try to replicate their earlier successes. He has no doubts that the task would not be an easy one as an insistent Chelsea are also on the upsurge breathing right down their neck.