Pep Guardiola has claimed Liverpool are the toughest opponent of his managerial career, suggesting it is one of his biggest achievements to fight the Reds.
Manchester City have been a force to reckon with since being bought by their current owners. The Citizens have asserted their dominance in English football over the last decade and continue to be one of the strongest teams in the Premier League and Europe.
While they have had inconsistent rivalries with neighbours Manchester United and Chelsea in this period, the real sense of a domestic rivalry got established in the last half a decade. Liverpool have emerged as Manchester City’s biggest adversaries in this period, with Jurgen Klopp particularly keeping Pep Guardiola on his toes.
Domestically, Manchester City have been more successful, winning three of the four Premier League titles contested between the two sides. Liverpool won the Champions League once in that period, which has eluded Guardiola since his Barcelona days.
The current title race looks set to go down to the wire after both sides securing important wins at the weekend. Liverpool kept up the pressure with a narrow victory over West Ham United, and they remain six points behind Manchester City with a game in hand and a date with their rivals at the Etihad still on the list.
🗣 "The toughest opponent I've ever faced in my twelve, thirteen years as a manager."
Pep Guardiola on the competition between Manchester City and Liverpool pic.twitter.com/QkO7Ue74YF
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) March 6, 2022
Manchester City thumped Manchester United at the Etihad to maintain their gap at the top of the table. The game mentioned above with Liverpool could be billed as a potential title decider if both teams continue their winning runs.
After the Manchester Derby, Guardiola spoke to the media and suggested Liverpool may have been the biggest rivals of his illustrious career. As quoted by Liverpool Echo, the Manchester City boss insisted that fighting Liverpool is one of his biggest achievements.
Guardiola said, “Hopefully, we can say we are a pain for Liverpool too. I said many times the success as a manager is the fact that year after year we still run like we are there to win again, even after three titles.”
“We remain humble and continue to play every single game, do it and be there, and these guys have done it many, many times. To fight with them (Liverpool) is one of the biggest achievements of my career. They are outstanding. Liverpool are the toughest opponent I have ever faced in my 12-13 years as a manager.”
Since the initial days of their rivalry during their days in the Bundesliga, Guardiola and Klopp have traded blows and indulged in several tactical battles. But Liverpool and Manchester City have been embroiled in a duel of wit and consistency, the likes of which have seldom been matches previously in the Premier League. And the 2021/22 season could be the latest what is starting to become a storied and healthy feud.